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Trade brings Foote back to Colorado

by Dan Rosen

Blue Jackets' defenseman Adam Foote is heading
back to Colorado, the team that drafted him in 1989
when they were known as the Quebec Nordiques.
Adam Foote video highlights 
Less than an hour after the Colorado Avalanche announced they acquired physical defenseman Ruslan Salei, the team went a step further and landed Adam Foote from Columbus in exchange for a conditional first-round draft pick with stipulations.

Foote is returning to his roots as he spent nine seasons in Denver prior to signing with the Columbus out of the lockout. He won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001 with the Avalanche. He became the Blue Jackets’ captain in 2005-06 season and leaves with the “C” on his sweater.

“We’re extremely pleased to announce to our fans that Adam Foote is returning to the Avalanche,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. “His veteran presence and proven leadership abilities will be a tremendous boost to our entire team as we head into a crucial time of our season. His presence on our blue line gives us an increased physical presence for the stretch drive.”

In return, the conditional first-round pick going to Columbus has these stipulations: The Blue Jackets will get Colorado’s first-round pick in 2008 only if the Avalanche make the playoffs. If the Avs fail to make the playoffs, they will keep their first-round pick this summer, but surrender their top pick in the 2009 Entry Draft to Columbus.

There is no doubt that Colorado is gambling a potential future prospect in exchange for an immediate return. Foote, after all, is an unrestricted free agent after this season and the Avalanche are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs as they currently stand 10th in the Western Conference with 68 points, four points shy of eighth-place.

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But Colorado has made a splash in the last 24 hours that proves it is making a huge push toward the postseason. The Avalanche were able to sign Peter Forsberg Monday and shored up their defense with Salei and Foote Tuesday. Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny and Ryan Smyth have also recently returned from injuries.

Foote had 15 points this season for Columbus, including a goal and 14 assists. He was also a plus-3 this season in Columbus after being a combined minus-33 in his first two seasons. Foote, though, is a plus-113 for his career and if he remains healthy for the rest of the regular season will play in his 1,000th game in an Avalanche uniform. He has played in 986 games.

As is the case with Forsberg, Giguere is hoping Foote plays like he once did in an Avalanche sweater. Foote had 186 points, 809 penalty minutes and was a plus-121 during his nine seasons in Denver from 1995-2004.

Foote was drafted by the organization in the second round back in 1989 when it was still the Quebec Nordiques. He played four seasons in Quebec before moving to Colorado with the organization.

Foote’s 799 games played with the Quebec/Colorado organization ranks him third on the all-time list. His 234 points is second among franchise defensemen. He played in 154 playoff games with the organization, second most behind Joe Sakic.

“Colorado has always been a special place for me and my family,” Foote said. “I have some amazing memories of my time there and the fans have always been great. I’m looking forward to getting back and helping the team compete for a playoff spot.”

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