Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s One-Hit Wonder series. Each day, we will take a look at a new team’s three biggest one-hit wonders. These are players that had one great season or playoff run but never did anything like that again. Join us every day for a new team! Today we take a look at the Colorado Avalance One-Hit Wonders.
Colorado Avalance One-Hit Wonders
The first of three Colorado Avalanche One-Hit Wonders is Marek Svatos. Svatos was Colorado’s seventh-round selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He signed a standard deal and debuted briefly in the 2003-04 season. Svatos would ultimately play for six seasons in Colorado accumulating 96 goals and 164 points in 306 games. He is the most successful of the team’s 2001 selections, even more so than second-round selection Peter Budaj. His career .50 points-per-game is very good considering where Svatos was selected that year; Svatos is the 30th-most productive member of the 2001 class.
Svatos made his mark in the 2005-06 season. The then-23-year-year-old scored 32 goals and 50 points in 61 games en route a fifth-place Calder Cup finish and a singular vote for the Hart Trophy. He was the only Avalanche to receive a vote for either award. Svatos’ season was entirely a result of a 19.4 percent shooting percentage on 165 shots. That was the 14th-best mark of the year among players who skated in at least 10 games.
After the Wonder
2005-06 would be the best season of Svatos’ career. He scored just 15 goals and 30 points in 66 games in 2006-07. Svatos consistently scored 30 or more points in three straight years after the 50 point campaign but he never recaptured the magic of his dynamic rookie season. He bounced around the world for several seasons and played briefly for the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators in 2010-11. Sadly, Svatos passed away in 2016.
Chris Stewart was Colorado’s first-round selection in the 2006 Draft. He remains active in the NHL but has never stayed with a team for more than four seasons. He is the 16th-most productive player from his draft class just sandwiched between Mathieu Perreault and Erik Johnson.
Stewart first debuted in 2008-09 but didn’t hit his stride until an incredible 2009-10 season. That was the year where Stewart scored 28 goals and 64 points in 77 games. He took the most shots of anyone on that team as it surged into a second-place finish in the old Northwest Division. It’s even more impressive when you consider Stewart actively hurt his team when I was on the ice with a 45.3 Corsi For percentage and a negative 1.1 relative Corsi For.
After the Wonder
Stewart started hot in 2010-11 as well with 13 goals and 30 points in 36 games but Colorado traded him to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Johnson and Jay McClement, among other assets. He would ultimately score another 15 goals and 23 points in 26 more games but that was the height of his production. Stewart hasn’t even broken 40 points since his third full season. The next-best years were two 36 point-campaigns in 2012-13 and 2014-15. He is now with the Philadelphia Flyers on the last legs of his career.
David Aebischer was Colorado’s sixth-round selection over 20 years ago in the 1997 Draft. The Swiss goaltender played in over 200 NHL games but only 40 were played in a non-Avalanche uniform. Aebischer would mostly play in Switzerland for several more years after leaving North America after the 2007-08 season. He retired after a brief stint in the NLB in 2014-15.
Aebischer had one full season as Colorado’s starter after Patrick Roy retired. He played in 62 games in 2003-04 with a .924 save percentage and 2.09 goals-against-average. Aebischer received no award votes after helping steer Colorado to a 100-point season but it gave fans plenty of hope he would be a quality starter for the post-Roy future.
After the Wonder
Colorado traded Aebischer to the Montreal Canadiens after 43 games in 2005-06 in exchange for Jose Theodore. He backed up Cristobal Huet for the remainder of that season and 2006-07 before signing a deal with the then-Phoenix Coyotes. Aebischer played for one year in Phoenix before going back to Switzerland. He barely got above a .900 save percentage or below 3.00 goals-against after leaving Colorado.
That does it for the Colorado Avalanche One-Hit Wonders, please keep it on Last Word on Hockey as the One-Hit Wonders series continues each and every day.
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