The NHL trade deadline is coming up next week and for Throwback Thursday, here is a look back one of the most notable trades in league history: Ray Bourque going to the Colorado Avalanche.
Bourque spent the majority of his time in the pros with the Boston Bruins, playing with the team for over 20 years after making his debut as a 19-year-old. Bourque was a fan-favorite in Boston and during his time there he established himself as a sure-bet for the Hall of Fame. One thing that Bourque never was able to get while he was in Boston though was a Stanley Cup.
The team made it to the finals twice during his time in Boston, in 1988 and 1990, but the team lost both of those series to the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins had made the playoffs for 29 straight years before missing out in the 1997 season, and that development eventually helped lead to Bourque being traded. The Bruins made the playoffs the next two seasons and then came into the 1999-2000 campaign with high expectations.
Things quickly fell apart though due to injuries, and that led Bourque to ask the Bruins for a trade. The team was struggling and with his career entering the sunset phase, Bourque wanted to be in a situation where he could potentially win a Cup. The Bruins almost worked out a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, but that eventually fell through and did not happen. Instead, Bourque was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in a deal for Brian Rolston, Samuel Pahlsson, Martin Grenier and a first-round draft pick. Dave Andreychuk was also traded to Colorado.
At the time of the trade, Bourque had won five Norris Trophy awards in his career, but never the Stanley Cup. Bourque became a key player for the Avalanche and the team made the playoffs, ultimately losing to the Dallas Stars in the conference finals. Bourque was considering retirement after that season, but he opted to come back for one more run with the Avalanche.
The one extra year turned out to be a smart move. Bourque and the Avalanche made the playoffs, advancing to the Stanley Cup finals where they took on the New Jersey Devils. Bourque ended up scoring the game winner in the third game of the series, and the Avalanche won the Cup in seven games. Bourque had set the record for the most games played without winning a Stanley Cup at 1,612 regular season games, and all that ended with the Avalanche winning the title.
Bourque got the storybook ending he was looking for, and earned his first Stanley Cup win with Colorado. Bourque got his chance due to a trade at the NHL trading deadline, and as they say, the rest is history.