Three days ago, when Peter Forsberg's No. 21 banner was raised to the top of the Pepsi Center and retired forever, he joined the company of some incredible players. Players who not only affected the Colorado Avalanche and their history, but the league as well.
Forsberg became the fifth player to have a banner raised in his honor by the Avalanche, excluding the league-wide retiring of Gretzky's 99. He joins his teammates from the 1996 championship team, Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, and one player from the 2001 Stanley Cup team, Ray Bourque. Quite the group of players.
Roy and Bourque are both already in the Hall of Fame, with Sakic likely to join them when he becomes eligible. Forsberg will in all likelihood be inducted into the Hall as well, considering what he has achieved after succumbing to very serious injuries.
Forsberg entered the league with the Quebec Nordiques in 1994-95, and 13 NHL seasons later, he is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Hart Memorial Trophy winner for league MVP, Calder Trophy winner for rookie of the year and a five-time All-Star.
Forsberg fought through leg and foot injuries as well as surgery to remove his spleen and still managed to continue playing in the NHL. He even had a 106-point season the next year he played.
Forsberg is undoubtedly one of the best players to ever suit up for the Colorado Avalanche and probably one of the best players the team will ever have. He currently sits in fifth on the Avalanche all-time points list with 755 points, 539 points ahead of Paul Stasny, the next highest current Avalanche player.
On top of Forsberg's 1.3 points per game average while playing for Colorado, he also finished his tenure in Denver with an unbelievable plus-210 rating. He holds several team records and definitely helped to put the new expansion Avalanche on the map.
Forsberg will go down in history as one of the greatest Swedish players of all time, considering he won two Olympic gold medals and two World Championship gold medals for his home country. Forsberg is the only Swede to win the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and World Championship gold each twice and is a part of the esteemed Triple Gold Club.
It's fitting that Forsberg's number was retired this year as the Avalanche are trying to rebuild to bring back their former glory since he joined the Quebec Nordiques when they were in a rebuilding swing. Forsberg changed the Avalanche team forever and now every time the Colorado fans come watch their team play, they will remember another great player in club history.