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Colorado Trading Drury

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12-08-2016, 10:16 AM
  #1
GMR
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Colorado Trading Drury

I've always thought this trade was the beginning of the end for Colorado and their deep playoff runs. To sum up, in October 2002, they traded Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle in exchange for Derek Morris, Jeff Shantz and Dean McAmmond.

Drury was a very good player for Colorado and a clutch playoff performer. He was also 26 and still had prime years ahead of him. With Forsberg's injury troubles and Sakic getting older, Drury was someone I thought they would keep a long time. Yelle was arguably the best 4th line center in the game and a great penalty killer and faceoff man.

I don't remember anything special about Shantz or McAmmond. Morris was touted as a young defenseman with a bright future, but it still seemed like a big gamble to make this trade. It turned into an awful trade for the Avalanche. Morris only spent two years there. Drury went on to be a big time player in Buffalo. Yelle had some solid seasons in Calgary and was a key member of their playoff run in 2004. Shantz and McAmmond didn't amount to anything for Colorado. In fact, I believe McAmmond ended up back in Calgary shortly after this trade.

What was the thinking behind this trade? Was Morris really that highly touted? Were Drury and Yelle considered expendable for some reason? Did Colorado expect Shantz and McAmmond to become good players all of a sudden?

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12-08-2016, 10:59 AM
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I'm sure someone more resourceful than I will find proof of this to post but Drury was having contract negotiation problems at the time and Pierre Lacroix didn't like it.

I should also add that Morris was very good for the Avalanche and his trade to Phoenix was a travesty. A 50 point defenseman becoming Ossi Vaananen and Chris Gratton. Come on.

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12-08-2016, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceremony View Post
I'm sure someone more resourceful than I will find proof of this to post but Drury was having contract negotiation problems at the time and Pierre Lacroix didn't like it.

I should also add that Morris was very good for the Avalanche and his trade to Phoenix was a travesty. A 50 point defenseman becoming Ossi Vaananen and Chris Gratton. Come on.
One of many panic buttons during a lost season.

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12-08-2016, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BHD View Post
One of many panic buttons during a lost season.
Chris Gratton who would go on to play on a line with Matthew Barnaby and, er, Paul Kariya. With Tommy Salo in goal.

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12-08-2016, 11:38 AM
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One of the key parts of that trade was that Drury held out, Lacroix didn't really stand for players holding out. It was also during this time that you could tell that Lacroix had really gotten out of date, and was no longer a good GM. Around the 2004 trade deadline he would trade away 3 future Top-4 defensemen in Morris, Ballard and Gilbert. He made a lot of very short sighted moves that season that would really set the Avs back several years.

Following the lockout the Avs had to let Gratton go due to cap reasons, and also lost Forsberg and Foote to the cap as well. The Avs would have been considerably better off if they had Morris still available, as well as Ballard and Gilbert ready to make an appearance in the next few years.

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12-08-2016, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceremony View Post
Chris Gratton who would go on to play on a line with Matthew Barnaby and, er, Paul Kariya. With Tommy Salo in goal.
The KGB line with Konowalchuk, Gratton, and Barnaby was one of the few times the Avs actually had a legitimate shutdown line, and one that positively contributed to the team. The Avs have, for whatever reason, just decided that depth players can be whoever, and don't actually need to fit into a specific role. It's been a huge detriment.

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12-08-2016, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMR View Post
What was the thinking behind this trade? Was Morris really that highly touted? Were Drury and Yelle considered expendable for some reason? Did Colorado expect Shantz and McAmmond to become good players all of a sudden?
At the time, Morris was probably at his peak "value." He had just turned 24 and already had a string of productive seasons. I do recall Lacroix saying something along the lines of Morris would be a cornerstone of the blue line for the next decade.

It maybe was a weird mix in Colorado with Blake/Foote both righties in front of Morris. But that first year, Morris did put up a career high 48 points.

Not sure how much salary concerns Colorado had, but Alex Tanguay was coming out of his ELC as that trade happened.

Here are some articles from the time:

http://articles.latimes.com/2002/oct/02/sports/sp-nhl2

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...rticle1336987/

Quote:
Making matters worse is that some of the players Colorado was counting on to replace Drury's scoring -- Alex Tanguay, Steve Reinprecht, Radim Vrbata -- have struggled offensively.
Vrbata put up 18 goals in 52 games as a 20 year old. Perhaps they envisioned that he could inherit Drury's minutes?

Couple excerpts from an Adrian Dater book:

Quote:
Lacroix wanted to restore "The Big Three" on defense, believing that one more top D-man to play with Rob Blake and Adam Foote--like Ray Bourque--was the right formula to win another Cup.
Quote:
Lacroix believed there was more than enough offensive firepower to make up for Drury's absence

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12-08-2016, 12:11 PM
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Morris lost a lot when he got his orbital bone broken. I wanna say by David Ling, or something like that.

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12-08-2016, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba Thudd View Post
Morris lost a lot when he got his orbital bone broken. I wanna say by David Ling, or something like that.
He was definitely a lot more aggressive before that. He was hitting, fighting, and pushing the pace offensively. After the injury it took him a while to get going again.

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12-08-2016, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodeur View Post

Vrbata put up 18 goals in 52 games as a 20 year old. Perhaps they envisioned that he could inherit Drury's minutes?

Couple excerpts from an Adrian Dater book:
Possibly. Problem is, Vrbata wasn't a center. Trading a young center when you have an aging star center, and another star center who's made of glass seemed like a bad idea at the time. Sakic went on to have many more solid seasons, but Forsberg was basically done in Colorado by the lockout. Ironically, right after the lockout, Drury reached his peak years in Buffalo.

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12-08-2016, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMR View Post
I've always thought this trade was the beginning of the end for Colorado and their deep playoff runs. To sum up, in October 2002, they traded Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle in exchange for Derek Morris, Jeff Shantz and Dean McAmmond.

Drury was a very good player for Colorado and a clutch playoff performer. He was also 26 and still had prime years ahead of him. With Forsberg's injury troubles and Sakic getting older, Drury was someone I thought they would keep a long time. Yelle was arguably the best 4th line center in the game and a great penalty killer and faceoff man.

I don't remember anything special about Shantz or McAmmond. Morris was touted as a young defenseman with a bright future, but it still seemed like a big gamble to make this trade. It turned into an awful trade for the Avalanche. Morris only spent two years there. Drury went on to be a big time player in Buffalo. Yelle had some solid seasons in Calgary and was a key member of their playoff run in 2004. Shantz and McAmmond didn't amount to anything for Colorado. In fact, I believe McAmmond ended up back in Calgary shortly after this trade.

What was the thinking behind this trade? Was Morris really that highly touted? Were Drury and Yelle considered expendable for some reason? Did Colorado expect Shantz and McAmmond to become good players all of a sudden?
I hated this trade when it happened. Calgary had their #1 center in Conroy, who had insane chemistry with Iginla. McAmmond was very effective on the LW with them as well. Morris was a solid #2 defenseman. Shantz was a decent bottom 6 guy, no real loss there.

I didn't hate Drury, but I never saw it as something Calgary really needed at the time. Maybe it was because they knew Savard wasn't there for long, and they wanted to bring in a young-ish top 6 center. Who knows. It did bring in Stephane Yelle though, and to this day he's one of my all-time favorite players. Hard to believe Drury only had like 5 more effective seasons after that trade to Buffalo.

Also worth noting, I'm pretty sure there were some contract issues going on with Morris as well. Not 100% sure though.

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12-08-2016, 04:49 PM
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Morris was very highly thought of at the time. He was 24 and was expected to be a surefire Top 4 guy with the potential to be a #2. McAmmond had good speed and was a solid two way third liner that could play up tin the top six in the event of injury and not embarrass himself. Shantz was a solid bottom six center.

Think about whenever an emerging top 4 defender topic comes up in the trade rumor thread, the fan base always demands a young top 6 center as a return. That is what this trade was in the day.

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12-08-2016, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMR View Post
Possibly. Problem is, Vrbata wasn't a center. Trading a young center when you have an aging star center, and another star center who's made of glass seemed like a bad idea at the time. Sakic went on to have many more solid seasons, but Forsberg was basically done in Colorado by the lockout. Ironically, right after the lockout, Drury reached his peak years in Buffalo.
I seem to recall Drury mostly playing wing with the Avs due to Sakic/Forsberg down the middle: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...ton-university

Quote:
A do-or-die situation such as Thursday night's sixth game of the Stanley Cup finals is old hat for 24-year-old Colorado winger Chris Drury.
Colorado also had a center prospect named Vaclav Nedorost who at the time looked promising. Steve Reinprecht was the same age as Drury and put up comparable numbers as well. With Forsberg out, it looks like Colorado shifted Drury to center in 2001-02 and his production regressed.

But as others have said, there might have been some contract issues plus Derek Morris was highly valued at the time. It's a little easy with hindsight to know that they bought high on Morris and maybe sold low on Drury. I can recall thinking at the time being surprised that Calgary moved Morris.

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12-08-2016, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceremony View Post
I'm sure someone more resourceful than I will find proof of this to post but Drury was having contract negotiation problems at the time and Pierre Lacroix didn't like it.

I should also add that Morris was very good for the Avalanche and his trade to Phoenix was a travesty. A 50 point defenseman becoming Ossi Vaananen and Chris Gratton. Come on.
The thing is, Morris had a 48 point season and then never more than 38 in his career. Only had 30+ points 4 times. This is the feeling I always got with Morris, he was supposed to get better. He was on a short list for the 2002 Olympics. They took Brewer instead, but he was right there. This was the idea to take a young guy (I thought it would be Redden) on a veteran laden defense. Morris was expected to get better. I just never knew why people - including myself - always thought that about him. There was nothing about his game that jumped out at you.

As for Drury, he could play on my team anyday. He had 17 playoff game winners. Eventually that stuff just isn't an accident. Drury was a very good clutch scorer. I don't know what he did that made him that way but he always seemed to show up big when it counted. He can play for my team anyday and I agree with the OP, it wasn't a good trade. 17 playoff game winners, Wayne Gretzky had 24. Just saying.

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12-09-2016, 10:20 AM
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I actually remember there being a lot of apprehension about that trade from the Calgary perspective. Morris appeared to be rounding into an all-star caliber two-way defenseman at the time. As Phil just pointed out, it was between him and Brewer for a spot on the loaded 2002 Canadian Olympic Team.

Drury was seen as a good secondary piece, a guy who fits in perfectly on a team that already has Sakic and Forsberg to deliver the mail. Think the way Brandon Saad was perceived on Chicago for a recent comparison. Solid player, but that doesn't seem like a guy you swap your best defenseman for. The other three players involved in the deal were perceived as background noise for the most part. This trade was Drury for Morris, and Craig Button took a lot of heat for it.

Drury delivered a 50-point season, which was about what you'd expect, but was never really a great fit in Calgary. Word was he wasn't thrilled about the trade. Not surprising. An American player who had recently won a Cup on one of the NHL's premier franchises being sent to one of the NHL's real backwater franchises at the time, up in frozen Canada no less. The Flames cut their losses quickly and dealt him to Buffalo a year later for Rhett Warrener and Steve Reinprecht. Warrener was a steady presence during Calgary's run to the Final in 2004, as was Stephane Yelle. So overall Calgary probably doesn't regret moving Morris at the time they did. They sold high on him and won a few playoff series with the pieces they got in return once the dust had settled.

Colorado seemed to bungle their resulting assets from the trade, but they did luck out and draft Paul Stastny with a 2nd round pick received from the Coyotes when they shipped Morris to the desert.

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12-09-2016, 11:12 AM
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Yeah, I remember, he was holding out. Shame they had to trade him. Got to wonder if having him would have led them to win the Cup in 03-04 when Kariya and Selanne where also on the team.

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12-09-2016, 11:11 PM
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I honestly thought Colorado stole Derek Morris when it happened. He was a 24 year old all-around rugged defender who had put up multiple 30+ point seasons on a rebuilding CGY team.

He was viewed like we currently view defenders such as Rielly, Lindholm, Ristolainen, etc right now. A hugely valuable piece. CGY had some other good young D's on the team - Regehr, Lydman and Leopold - so they tried plugging a hole up front by dealing from their strength. Button was the GM at the time and he had done some seemingly crazy **** the previous year like Stillman for Conroy (which worked) and Bure for Niedermayer.

Unfortunately, Drury and Iginla never really clicked and as pointed out, Drury was quickly traded after that season.

Putting Morris on a team with Sakic, Forsberg, Hejduk, Tanguay, Blake and company would lead to him reaching new heights was the belief. Statistically, it was the case as pointed out. That trade to PHX remains completely bizarre although COL salvaged it with the Stastny pick.

Drury's 2001-02 season was quite mediocre as pointed out. Keep in mind the Avs were leading that 2002 WCF against the Wings, then they blew Game 6 at home and were demolished in Game 7. Clearly Lacroix was looking to shake it up and Drury was deemed the expendable one, especially with the holdout.

Ultimately, Drury was a much better player than Morris for longer, but neither team can look at this trade too fondly. Fascinating trade in retrospect. Yelle's contributions in CGY can't be overlooked either, he was a valuable role player for them for 6 years.

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