We’re #2! We’re #2!
Not a chant one hears often, if at all. Unlike any other, the number two suffers the indignity of not being a different digit. About the only reason a player chooses the number two is due to another player already having the number one. So, don’t expect Hall-of-Famers on this list. Rather, the Avs have had some good, solid role players wear the 2; skaters that every team team needs to round out a competitive game.
Take a look and choose your favorite via the quiz at the end.
Sylvain Lefebvre: D, 1994-1999 GP: 422, 11-69-80, PIM: 247
The longest tenured Av to wear the #2, Lefebvre spent another five seasons in the organization as an assistant coach.
Sylvain started his NHL career with Montreal as an undrafted free agent in 1986. He would play three seasons with the Habs starting in 1989 and then two seasons with the Maple Leafs. Toronto traded him to Quebec prior to the 94-95 season as part of the Clark-Sundin deal. Minor injuries restricted him to only 48 games that season but he still put up the same number of points (13) as he had in 80 games with the Leafs.
Of course, the next season would be played in the team’s new home of Denver, Colorado. In the mile high atmosphere, Lefebvre would have some of the best seasons of his career. His 21 points in the 95-96 and 98-99 seasons were personal highs as were his +/- of 26 and 18 for those seasons respectively. Oh, and there was that Stanley Cup to cap 1996. Sylvain also gained some notoriety with his unique use of his day with the Cup: he had his infant daughter baptized in the basin.
Lefebvre’s time with the Avalanche impressed the Rangers enough that they lured him away with a four-year $10 million offer. But his time in the Big Apple was marked by injuries and the slow decline of an aging athlete. For the first time Sylvain was on a team that didn’t make the playoffs.
But again, altitude resuscitated his career. After his contract with the Rangers, Lefebvre joined SC Bern in Switzerland for the 03-04 season and helped them win the National League Cup. Sylvain announced his retirement from professional hockey deciding to go out on top.
Bryan Muir: D, 2000-2003 GP: 65, 1-3-4, PIM: 32
Muir bounced around the NHL beginning with the Oilers in 1995. He finally hit pay dirt when the Lightning traded him to the Avalanche at the trade deadline of the 00-01 season. Yes, his name is on the Stanley Cup.
Bryan spent most of his time in the Avs organization playing on the Hershey Bears (121, 24-36-60, 258pim). the most significant time spent up with the top club in Denver amounted to 32 games in 2002-2003. At the end of the season, Colorado traded him to L.A. After a season with the Kings, Muir would finish his NHL career with the Washington Capitals. Europe helped him extend his playing time with seasons in Modo of the Swedish Elite League, Minsk of the KHL, and finally Frankfurt in Germany.
Ken Klee: D, 2006-2007 GP: 81, 3-16-19, PIM: 68
Klee holds an NHL record for the highest percentage of his goals (55) being game winners (13). He doesn’t score much but he’s clutch when he does.
Ken came to Colorado with his best days behind him. After spending over a decade in the Capitals’ organization, he went to the Maple Leafs via trade. The next season, Toronto traded him to New Jersey. Now a free agent, Klee signed with the Avs. While his stats weren’t stellar, he led the team in in +/- with 18 and his 81 games played was a personal accomplishment.
The Avs opted to release Klee after one season. The Atlanta Thrashers signed him for the 07-08 season and then traded him to Anaheim. He played three games for the Ducks, ended up on waivers, and landed with Phoenix for the rest of the 08-09 season.
Wes O’Neill: D, 2008-2010 GP: 5, 0-0-0, PIM: 6
Over the course of two seasons, Wes got action in the big club for five whole games. While not generating any points, he did get better than a penalty per game.
Chosen in the 4th round of the 2004 draft by the Islanders, Wes committed instead to Notre Dame (154gp, 17-61-78, 78pim) and participated in the school’s championship season in 2006-2007. O’Neill opted for free agency that summer and signed with the Avs. He spent the 07-08 season with the Lake Erie Monsters (54gp, 1-5-6, 34pim). The Avs brought him up for three games in March of the 08-09 season. The next season with the Monsters, O’Neill improved his stats to a goal and fourteen assists. The Avs gave Wes another shot with the big league in January of 2010. After two games, he returned to Lake Erie and the end of his NHL career. He finally hung up his skates in 2013 after stints with various AHL and ECHL teams.
Nick Holden: D, 2013-2016 GP: 221, 24-41-65, PIM: 82
Holden is the definition a journeyman defenseman: Good skill and work effort that fills a role but not to the extent that a team wants to keep him around long term. At thirty-one years of age, he’s still got some in the tank as long as he doesn’t mind playing on a new team every season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up Holden as an undrafted free agent in the waning days of the 07-08 season. He spent the next five seasons almost entirely with Columbus’ AHL affiliates, getting a total of seven games in the NHL.
Holden joined Colorado in 2013 as a free agent and began contributing right away. He ended the 13-14 season second in scoring among Avs defensemen and contributed four goals and an assist in the playoff series against the Wild.
He would play two more productive seasons in Colorado before being traded to the New York Rangers in 2016. Holden currently plays for the Boston Bruins since the Rangers traded him in February of 2018.