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Avalanche Claim Andrew Bodnarchuk

Last night, the more astute among us noticed Erik Johnson skated off the ice during the 2nd Period and never returned to the bench (I was too busy enjoying the 4-1 victory over the Kings). Nothing stood out on the ice leading up to this moment -- no collisions, no unfortunate encounters with slapshots, etc. In fact, I can't discern any particular moment when he dropped off in performance or didn't feel right. But the Avalanche announced mid-game he would not be returning to the game having suffered a lower-body injury. During the post-game media session, they revealed there was no timetable set for his return to action.

The Avalanche are now in quite a predicament. Johnson is far-and-away their best two-way defenseman and his absence will only exacerbate the shortcomings of the already troubled unit. Brandon Gormley and Nate Guenin have been alternating occupying the inactive list. Surely, both will be seeing more consistent game time if this injury proves to persist. This also leaves the Avalanche roster without an emergency starter, in case anyone is injured during a morning skate or game warm-ups.

AHL affiliate San Antonio currently sports three of Colorado's top defensive prospects: Nikita Zadorov, Chris Bigras, and Duncan Siemens. None have yet demonstrated consistent enough performance to warrant an NHL call-up. The Avalanche also don't want these guys missing playing opportunities to sit in a reserve role. So, they hopped back on the waiver wire and claimed Columbus defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk.

Bodnarchuk, 27, played junior hockey for Nathan MacKinnon's Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. He was selected in the 5th Round of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins. After playing two seasons for their AHL affiliate in Providence, he got a five-game cup of coffee in 2009-10, scoring zero points and committing one minor penalty. After that, he signed as free agent with the Los Angeles Kings and spent three season in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. He signed a two-way contract with Columbus this season, playing in 16 games with the big club and tallying two assists.