(Nordiques de Québec)
1972 - 1995
1995 - Present
|Arenas||Colisée de Québec|
|City||Quebec City, Quebec|
|Team Colors||Red, White, and Blue|
|Division Championships||1986, 1995|
|Colisée de Québec|
Forced to let all but three players go in a dispersal draft, the Nordiques were now an expansion team and sunk to the bottom of the standings. They finished the 1979-80 NHL season in last place despite the play of promising rookie left winger Michel Goulet. An early highlight to the otherwise dreary season came when Real Cloutier became the second (following Alex Smart) NHL player ever to score a hat trick in his first NHL game.
In 1980 the Nordiques signed Peter Stastny, a member of the Czechoslovak national team who defected earlier that year. His brothers, Anton and Marian, would soon follow and also sign with Quebec. The following season, led by Stastny's 109-point Calder Trophy-winning performance, the Nordiques made the NHL playoffs for the first time, but fell in the best-of-five opening round in five games to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Led by Goulet and Peter Stastny, the Nordiques remained strong contenders for several seasons. Quebec again made the playoffs in 1981-82, defeating the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens and then the Boston Bruins, but were swept by the New York Islanders in the conference finals.
The rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens intensified during the 1983-84 NHL season culminating in the infamous "Vendredi Saint" brawl during the 1984 playoffs, after which the Habs eliminated the Nordiques from the postseason. In the 1986-87 season, when Quebec hosted Rendez-Vous '87, an alteration of the All-Star Game to include the Soviet national team, the Nordiques became the first NHL team to employ a costumed mascot when Badaboum - a fuzzy, roly-poly blue creature - began entertaining fans at the Colisée with his bizarre dance routines.
The following season Montreal and Quebec battled for the Adams Division championship. The Habs won by three points, but the Nordiques would exact revenge in the playoffs with a seven-game victory, which was clinched by Peter Stastny's overtime goal. They won their first NHL division title in 1985-86, but a defensive collapse in the playoffs allowed the Hartford Whalers to advance.
The next season saw more of the Nords-Habs rivalry as the playoff series went to seven games, with the Canadiens coming out on top. But this was the end of the Nordiques relatively successful period, as decline began the following season. The Nordiques finished last in their division and missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. In 1988-89 they had the league's worst record. The arrival of Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur in 1989 came with much fanfare, but it soon became clear Lafleur's best years were far behind him. "The Flower" managed only 24 goals in 98 games with Quebec. The Nords finished with the worst season in franchise history, with only 12 wins and 31 points. Both Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny were traded in 1990, winding up with the Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils respectively. Despite the stellar play of young forward Joe Sakic, the Nordiques struggled throughout the late '80s and early '90s. They hit rock bottom in 1989-90, finishing with a hideous record of 12-61-7--the worst in franchise history, and the second of three straight seasons with the worst record in the league. However, in that year's draft they drafted Swedish prospect Mats Sundin, making him the first European to be selected first overall in the NHL draft. The following year Quebec chose first again, taking Owen Nolan.
In 1991 the Nordiques once again had the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. The best player in that year's draft, Eric Lindros, repeatedly said he would never play for Quebec, but the Nords picked him anyway. As a result, Lindros refused to wear the team jersey on Draft Day, and only held it for press photographs. Lindros, on advice of his mother Bonnie, refused to sign with the team and began a holdout that would last over a year. Meanwhile, the Nordiques finished with another dreadful season in 1991-92, missing the 70-point barrier for the fifth year in a row.
Finally on June 30, 1992, after confusion over whether Quebec had traded Lindros' rights to the Philadelphia Flyers or New York Rangers was settled, the Nordiques sent Lindros to the Flyers in exchange for forward Mike Ricci, goaltender Ron Hextall, defencemen Steve Duchesne and Kerry Huffman, "future considerations" (eventually became enforcer Chris Simon), two first-round picks and US$15 million. One of the draft picks was used by the Nordiques to select goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, the other was traded twice and ultimately used by the Washington Capitals to select Nolan Baumgartner. Also in the trade were the rights to a Swedish teenage prospect named Peter Forsberg. The deal - probably the single most significant NHL transaction of the entire decade - transformed the Nordiques from league doormats to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender almost overnight.
During the 1992-93 NHL season, these new players, along with Sakic - now a bona fide NHL All-Star -and the rapidly developing Sundin and Nolan, led Quebec to the biggest single-season improvement in NHL history. The Nordiques jumped from 52 points in the previous year to 104--in the process, going from the second-worst record in the league to the fourth-best. They made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, but fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Canadiens in the first round. They would miss the playoffs the next season as they struggled with injuries.
The Lindros deal is a strong contender for one of the most one-sided trades not merely in NHL history, but professional sports history. Despite Lindros' fine career, no NHL general manager would now -- in retrospect -- trade him even up for Forsberg. Forsberg won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1995, his first season with the Nordiques, and would be one of the cornerstones of the franchise for almost a decade. Ricci would give three useful seasons to the franchise before being traded, while Hextall's was moved after a single season to the New York Islanders. In return, the franchise got two draft picks, which they used to select Adam Deadmarsh and Alex Tanguay, who would both be key members of the Avalanche Cup-winning teams. Thibault would, after the franchise shift to Denver, be traded for Montreal goalie Patrick Roy.Had the Nordiques stayed in Quebec instead of heading for Denver, this would have been the franchise's new logo.
For the 1994-95 season, Marc Crawford was hired as the new head coach, and Forsberg was deemed ready to finally join the team, but first there was the problem of a lockout. In the shortened season of 48 games, the Nordiques played well and finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference. However, the team faltered in the postseason and was eliminated in the first round by the defending Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers.
The playoff loss proved to be Quebec's swan song in the NHL as the team's financial troubles increasingly took center stage. Quebec City was by far the smallest market in the NHL, and the league's Canadian teams (with the exception of Montreal, Toronto and to a lesser extent, Vancouver) found it difficult to compete in a new age of rising player salaries. This made Lindros and other players concerned about their marketability, especially since the Nords always played in the long shadow of the Canadiens. In addition, Lindros and other players were skittish about playing in what was virtually a unilingual francophone city. There are no privately owned English-language radio stations in the city, and only one privately-owned English language television station. The only English-language newspaper is a weekly. Unlike Montreal, public address announcements were given only in French.
Aubut asked for a bailout from Quebec's provincial government. It didn't go through, and in May 1995, shortly after the Nordiques were eliminated from the playoffs, Aubut was forced to sell the team to a group of investors in Denver, Colorado. The franchise was moved to Denver where it was renamed the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche would win the Stanley Cup in their first season after the move, and add another in 2001.
The Nordiques had planned to change their logo, colours, and uniforms for the 1996-97 season, and the new design had already appeared in the Canadian press.
A committee of local citizens and businesses has been formed in an attempt to bring an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.
A number of Nordiques are still active in professional hockey, including Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg, Owen Nolan, Jocelyn Thibault, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, Martin Rucinsky, Martin Gélinas, Aaron Miller and Adam Foote. Joe Sakic is the only Nordique still with the Quebec/Colorado franchise, although Milan Hejduk was selected #87 overall by the Nordiques at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Chris Drury, currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres, was also drafted by the Nordiques in 1994, but didn't play for the franchise until the 1998-1999 season, after the team had already moved to Colorado.
|1979/80 - 1994/95|
|1979/80 - 1994/95|
| || |
1996 - 1997*
1979 - 1995
| || || |
1996 - 1997*
1980 - 1995
1979 - 1980
*Following the 1995 season, the Quebec Nordiques unveiled new uniforms that were to have been worn during the 1995-96 season. However, they ended up applying for a uniform change too late, so they were going to debut them in the 1996-97 season. As everyone knows by now, before these uniforms saw the light of day, the Nordiques were sold and relocated to Denver, Colorado, becoming the Colorado Avalanche.
|1979-80||80||25||44||11||61||248||313||1062||5th in Adams||Did not qualify|
|1980-81||80||30||32||18||78||314||318||1524||4th in Adams||Lost Preliminary Round (Philadelphia)|
|1981-82||80||33||31||16||82||356||345||1757||4th in Adams||Won Adams Semifinal (Montreal), Won Adams Final (Boston), Lost Wales Conference Final (NY Islanders)|
|1982-83||80||34||34||12||80||343||336||1648||4th in Adams||Lost Adams Semifinal (Boston)|
|1983-84||80||42||28||10||94||360||278||1600||3rd in Adams||Won Adams Semifinal (Buffalo), Lost Adams Final (Montreal)|
|1984-85||80||41||30||9||91||323||275||1643||2nd in Adams||Won Adams Semifinal (Buffalo), Won Adams Final (Montreal), Lost Wales Conference Final (Philadelphia)|
|1985-86||80||43||31||6||92||330||289||1847||1st in Adams||Lost Adams Semifinal (Hartford)|
|1986-87||80||31||39||10||72||267||276||1741||4th in Adams||Won Adams Semifinal (Hartford), Lost Adams Final (Montreal)|
|1987-88||80||32||43||5||69||271||306||2042||5th in Adams||Did not qualify|
|1988-89||80||27||46||7||61||269||342||2004||5th in Adams||Did not qualify|
|1989-90||80||12||61||7||31||240||407||2104||5th in Adams||Did not qualify|
|1990-91||80||16||50||14||46||236||354||1741||5th in Adams||Did not qualify|
|1991-92||80||20||48||12||52||255||318||2044||5th in Adams||Did not qualify|
|1992-93||84||47||27||10||104||351||300||1846||2nd in Adams||Lost Adams Semifinal (Montreal)|
|1993-94||84||34||42||8||76||277||292||1625||5th in Northeast||Did not qualify|
|1994-95||48||30||13||5||65||185||134||770||1st in Northeast||Lost Eastern Quarterfinal (NY Rangers)|
The Québec Nordiques Franchise individual records
|In One Season...|
|Most Goals: Michel Goulet (57)|
|Most Assists: Peter Stastny (93)|
|Most Points: Peter Stastny (139)|
|Most Shutouts: Clint Malarchuk (4)|
|Most Penalty Minutes: Gord Donnelly (301)|
|Most Points, Defenseman: Steve Duchesne (82)|
|Most Points, Center: Peter Stastny (139)|
|Most Points, Right Wing: Jacques Richard (103)|
|Most Points, Left Wing: Michel Goulet (121)|
|Most Points, rookie: Peter Stastny (109)|
|In A Career...|
|Most Seasons: Michel Goulet (11)|
|Most Games: Michel Goulet (813)|
|Most Goals: Michel Goulet (456)|
|Most Assists: Peter Stastny (668)|
|Most Points: Peter Stastny (380g, 668a)|
|Most Penalty Minutes: Dale Hunter (1,545)|
|Most Shutouts: Mario Gosselin (6)|
|Consecutive Games Streak: Dale Hunter (312)|