When a one-time impact player
plays his final season with Columbus fades away quietly at the end of his career, his retirement often goes unnoticed, so let’s give Adrian Aucoin a quick career eulogy.
It was fitting a big blueliner known for his heavy shot buried the first one he ever took at the NHL level, as Aucoin did in 1995 when he debuted with the Vancouver Canucks.
He was an above-average defenseman for large chunks of his career. Remember his 23-goal season in 1998-99? It included 18 power play goals, tying him with Denis Potvin for the most ever by a blueliner in one campaign. The record was broken by Sheldon Souray in 2006-07.
Apart from that huge year, Aucoin should be remembered as one of the better minute munchers of his era. The best stretch of his career came with the New York Islanders from 2001-02 to 2003-04. Over his three seasons with them, he ranked among the top five NHLers in average ice time each year and was a plus-47 over that span.
Aucoin made stops in Tampa, Chicago, Calgary and Phoenix as well. He scored 10 or more goals six times and 34 or more points six times in a career spanning 1,108 games. He played in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game. He now works with the Chicago Blackhawks, developing their young defensemen.
I also discovered this video showing a forgotten season in which Aucoin apparently scored five consecutive shootout winners for Phoenix:
Huh? I somehow don’t remember that. It’s like Brian Boucher’s five straight shutouts. But I digress.
Aucoin wasn’t a star, but he shone from time to time throughout a long, productive career. Happy trails, sir.