Colorado ended up matching the offer sheet and the Avs went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in 2001 while the Rangers had two more seasons with Wayne Gretzky but didn't make the playoffs again until 2005-06.
Sakic told Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com that signing that offer sheet with the Rangers put him in a win-win situation no matter what the outcome.
He said "Obviously, I still live in Colorado, it’s a great place to play and I’ve always enjoyed it there. But if it would have been New York, I would have had a chance to play with Wayne Gretzky. It was really win-win for me either way."
Neil Smith told LeBrun that he felt pressure from Rangers management to replace Mark Messier and that "deep down" it wasn't what he wanted to do.
On the other hand, Smith told LeBrun "I had been with Joe at the 1996 World Cup and I got to know him well," Smith said. He was such a nice person. What is there not to like about Joe Sakic? It would have been phenomenal to get him."
Sakic entered the Hockey Hall of Fame last night.