Sakic was the Nordiques' top scorer in 1995, when the team finished second in a season shortened by a players' strike. On June 21 of that year, the team moved to Denver, Colorado, and changed its name to the Colorado Avalanche. Sakic scored fifty-one goals, sixty-nine assists, and 120 points in the 1995-96 season, and the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player on his team in the playoffs. He had scored eighteen goals and sixteen assists in twenty-two games.
On receiving the Stanley Cup, Sakic held it up to the 450,000 Colorado fans. He later said, "There is no greater satisfaction than winning the Cup … just thinking about it makes me speechless."
The Avalanche had another great season in 1996-97, finishing first overall and winning the President's Trophy, in spite of injuries that kept Sakic and second-line center Peter Forsberg out of seventeen games. Sakic was playing well again by the playoffs, however, and the team had a winning streak before falling prey to the Detroit Red Wings.