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Avs 20th Anniversary Team: Stephane Yelle

by Samantha Poulos / Colorado Avalanche

ColoradoAvalanche.com profiles the players named to the Avalanche's 20th Anniversary Team.

When thinking about some of the best all-around Colorado Avalanche players, Stephane Yelle should come to mind. Yelle's name is etched on the Stanley Cup not only for one but for both of the team's championship victories. His effort on the ice proved to be a staple of his during his time with the organization.

Stephane Yelle

This Monday, Dec. 7, Yelle will return to the arena that surely holds special memories for him as he and other Colorado alumni will be honored in a pregame ceremony at Pepsi Center as members of the Avalanche 20th Anniversary Team.

The 6-foot-2, 182-pound center was a smart and versatile player during his 14-year NHL career. He ranks 42nd on the franchise's all-time scoring list with 144 points (54 goals and 90 assists), and his 516 games with Colorado is ranked 18th all time in franchise history.

Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the eighth round (186th overall) of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, Yelle was traded to the Quebec Nordiques on June 1, 1994 while still playing in junior for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.

Yelle never played for the Nordiques, but he instead became a key part of Avalanche history as the franchise transitioned to Denver in the summer of 1995. In that first season in Colorado as a rookie, he contributed 27 points (13 goals and 14 assists) in the regular season and five points (one goal and four assists) in the playoffs to help the Avs win their first Stanley Cup.

In all, the Ottawa, Ontario, native spent seven full seasons with Colorado and assisted in the franchise's second championship in 2001.

Yelle found himself on the roster of a few more teams in his later playing days. He was traded to the Calgary Flames prior to the start of the 2002-03 campaign, where he spent the next five seasons (2002-2008).

The two-way forward then signed as a free agent with Boston on Sept. 3, 2008 and skated in 77 games with the Bruins. He split his final season in 2009-10 with the Carolina Hurricanes, who he signed with as a free agent, and the Avalanche.

During that final campaign, Yelle was one of two active players in the league from Colorado's 1996 victory, joining then Avs captain Adam Foote. He was reunited with Foote and the Avalanche in a trade on March 3, 2010.

“Stephane is a proven winner who will bring veteran leadership to our club,” said then general manager Greg Sherman about the trade. “He is very familiar with our organization and will add depth to our penalty killing units.”

Yelle played in the final 11 games with Colorado and picked up one last point (an assist) before retiring as an Avalanche at the age of 36.

In total, Yelle skated in 991 NHL regular-season games and recorded 96 goals and 169 assists (265 points). He also played in 171 playoff games, collecting 32 points (11 goals and 21 assists).

A long-time resident of the Mile High City, Yelle will have just a short drive back to the arena that he called home when some of the 20 best players in Avalanche history are honored prior to Colorado’s contest against the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.

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