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Numbers Game: Offseason Acquisitions

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche proudly brings back a feature that was a big hit last season, one which we’ve dubbed “Numbers Game.”

While the NHL Draft and the free agency period are probably the most celebrated events of the NHL’s offseason, many fans also look forward to seeing which jersey numbers their team’s newest players will be wearing in training camp.

As we noted last year, some jersey numbers are almost arbitrary, while others hold a special meaning to a player. For example, Paul Stastny wears No. 26 as a tribute to his father, Peter Stastny, who wore that sweater number when he played for the Quebec Nordiques (John-Michael Liles actually gave up No. 26 so Stastny could have it).

On the other hand, some players are assigned numbers in training camp and don’t change them even years later, like David Jones (No. 54) and Cody McLeod (No. 55).

The following is a look at some of the newest members of the Avalanche organization (who were either signed as free agents or acquired in trades this summer) and the jersey numbers they will wear beginning in camp.

Before we begin, be sure to check back in the coming days for more of the “Numbers Game”.

“Last Worn By” denotes the last Avalanche/Nordiques player to wear the number during an NHL contest.

#5 - David Liffiton
Originally selected by Colorado in the second round (63rd overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft, Liffiton signed a free-agent contract with the Avalanche on July 2. He spent the 2009-10 season with the Syracuse Crunch, where he collected 20 points (5g/15a) and 118 penalty minutes in 72 games while wearing jersey No. 48.
Last Worn By: Brett Clark (2003-10)

#7 – David Van Der Gulik
The forward comes to the Avalanche by the way of the Calgary Flames organization, where he skated for the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat a season ago and ranked second on the team in scoring with 40 points (16g/24a) in 64 contests. With the Heat, Van Der Gulik wore No. 37.
Last Worn By: T.J. Hensick (2009)

#17 – Ben Walter
Walter spent most of last season with New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, the Lowell Devils (where he donned No. 9 while leading the team in scoring), but also saw action in two games with New Jersey (No. 17).  He has appeared in 24 career NHL games, having also skated for Boston (wearing No. 72) and the New York Islanders (No. 29).
Last Worn By: Jaroslav Hlinka (2007-08)

#20 – Greg Mauldin
The forward wore No. 62 in his one NHL appearance with the New York Islanders in 2009-10, but sported No. 20 while spending the majority of the season with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Mauldin also skated in six games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2003-04 as No. 14.
Last Worn By: Tom Preissing (2009)

#32 – Harrison Reed
Although he wasn’t acquired in the offseason, Reed will enter his first training camp with the Avalanche in September. Reed came to the Avalanche at the 2010 trade deadline, along with Stephane Yelle, from the Carolina Hurricanes. He wore No. 22 with both the Lake Erie Monsters and the Albany River Rats a season ago.
Last Worn By: Kevin Porter (2010)

#34 – Daniel Winnik
Winnik, acquired from Phoenix in a trade on June 28, will sport the familiar No. 34 he wore with the Coyotes during his first season with the Avalanche.  Now entering his fourth NHL season, Winnik previously wore No. 27 during his three seasons at the University of New Hampshire and then went with both No. 21 and No. 44 during parts of three seasons with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.
Last Worn By: Aaron MacKenzie (2009)

#35 – Jason Bacashihua
The goaltender returned to the Avalanche organization this offseason, having previously spent most of the 2007-08 season and all of 2008-09 with the Lake Erie Monsters. Bacashihua wore No. 35 during that span and kept that same number with the Hershey Bears last year.
Last Worn By: Tyler Weiman (2007)

#47 – John Grahame
Grahame wore No. 31 while appearing in 14 games for the Lake Erie Monsters late in the 2009-10 season, but in training camp he will don the No. 47 sweater that he wore while playing for the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes.
Last Worn By: Ray Macias (2009)

#48 – Julian Talbot
Talbot was acquired by the Avalanche from the St. Louis Blues on June 17, 2010. The forward has spent the past three seasons with the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League, where he wore No. 12. Only three players (Max Middendorf, Scott Young and Kyle Cumiskey) have worn No. 48 in a game in Avalanche/Nordiques history.
Last Worn By: Kyle Cumiskey (2006-09)
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