Jes Golbez over at the Fanhaus posted a link to a Czech interview with Milan Hejduk that, upon translation, suggests that The Duke is both injured and nearing the end of his career.
He says that his health problems have limited him already for some time and that it won't get much better. Milan has an option to undergo major surgery, but would need to rehab for nearly a year after that and it isn't absolutely sure that his knee will be all right again after that. Right now he is at about 80% of his mobility.
And Hejduk also says that once his current contract with the Avalanche has expired, he'll retire from professional hockey.
That's more good news for the Avalanche in this off-season from heck. It's not quite severe enough to be from hell (at least not until Super Joe announces his retirement in a few weeks), so I'll go with "from heck" for now.
The Duke playing at 80% mobility pretty much makes him a liability in my mind. Sure, he's still got great hands (ladies...), but if he can't move he can't score. If it's true that his knee has limited him "for some time," that explains his declining production over the past couple of seasons. 25-30 goals ain't bad, but from a guy who was capable of 50, it's a definite decline.
Please tell me Paul Stastny, Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski are planning some sort of coup this year. The old guys aren't going to cut it anymore.