The man who helped build the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup teams is reportedly interested in coming back to the beleaguered organization to try to turn it around.
Two NHL sources close to former general manager Pierre Lacroix told Bleacher Report that the 68-year-old architect of Colorado’s 1996 and 2001 championship squads is open to an NHL comeback, preferably with Colorado.
Lacroix took over the team’s general manager’s job in 1994, when they were the Quebec Nordiques, and stepped down from this role in 2006 to focus on his position as team president. In 2013, Lacroix left this role, but stayed on as an advisor.
Francois Giguere succeeded Lacroix in 2006, and was replaced by Greg Sherman in 2009. Former Colorado captain Joe Sakic was named the team’s general manager in 2014 and is in his sixth season with the team’s front office.
Bleacher Report delved into this subject and explored whether it would make sense for the Avs. Colorado has the lowest point total in the NHL with 28 – 10 fewer than the next closest team
The question is: Would the Avalanche take him back? Perhaps the better question is: Wouldn’t the Avs be crazy not to welcome him back?
In his time as GM with Quebec and Colorado, starting with the Nordiques in 1994-95, Lacroix won division titles his first nine seasons on the job – something no one else in NHL history can say. Along the way, his Avalanche teams won Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001 and went to the Western Conference finals four other times, going to a seventh game in three of them before losing.
He made some of the best trades in NHL history, including the heist of Patrick Roy from Montreal in 1995, a deal that cemented the Avs as an NHL powerhouse for the next eight years.
Lacroix also added forward Claude Lemieux along with defensemen Sandis Ozolinsh, Rob Blake and Ray Bourque at different points. All those players helped Colorado to championship level success.
Though Lacroix may want to return to the Avalanche, replacing Sakic may be difficult according to the story.
The Avs currently are led by franchise icon Joe Sakic, and it might be too awkward for owner Josh Kroenke to oust him in favor of his old boss, Lacroix. Many critics of the way the Avs have run things the past few years say the team has gone back to the well of nostalgia too much already, bringing in Sakic as GM and Roy as coach for three years.
Also, Lacroix hasn’t been in the trenches as a general manager for years and it’s unclear if he’s up to date with the current state of the NHL. The piece notes that Lacroix has become “saddened” by the current state of the Avalanche and “deeply cares about the franchise.”
Whether the Avalanche decide to listen to Lacroix’s pitch or not, some changes are in store for the team in the next few months. In their last 27 games they have gone 4-22-1 and recently, core players have said publicly that they would be open to a trade elsewhere.
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