Winning a Stanley Cup is never an individual achievement. Even with the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are usually multiple candidates for the award over the four playoff series it takes to reach the summit of the hockey world.
For the Colorado Avalanche, who claimed the Stanley Cup in the 2021-22 season by dethroning the reigning back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s an achievement that comes from top to bottom.
It’s an achievement that is a long time coming, a process that played out with a franchise icon leading the way at the top and started with another behind the bench, only to be placed in the hands of a hockey journeyman who rose through the coaching ranks. It’s also an achievement for the players who were around for the entire process, which included as many low points as it did the highest moments that were reached in this championship season.