The Colorado Avalanche, just two days into the season, have already faced some decent setbacks. As we learned earlier this week, stars Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are both out of the lineup due to COVID and suspension respectively.
The bad news continued to pile on Friday when it was announced that Valeri Nichushkin will be out week-to-week with an upper body injury.
Valeri Nichushkin is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) October 15, 2021
This leaves the Avs without three of their top stars on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. Not only this, but there are still some question marks in the air about others as well.
Andre Burakovsky and Darren Helm also are questionable to be left out due to injury after not skating today during an optional practice session.
As things stand right now, the Avs could be without five of the Avs’s forwards just two games into the season. The injury bug seems to have hit the Avs early, causing an early roadblock in a grueling season.
Despite this, it seems like Burakovsky and Helm are leaning towards probable to play on Saturday night.
Darren Helm and Andre Burakovsky got dinged up against the Hawks, so they didn't practice today. But they are probable for tomorrow's game against the Blues.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) October 15, 2021
The status of MacKinnon is unknown at the moment, as he is still asymptomatic but still needs two negative tests to be eligible to play on Saturday. With that in mind, the possible lineup is all over the place.
So tomorrow’s forward group could look something like…— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) October 15, 2021
Therefore, expect the Avs to have a lot of call-ups from the Colorado Eagles later today or tomorrow to fill in spots in the roster for the next few games. The options are slimming, as Mikhail Maltsev and Martin Kaut seem like the two most likely options to come into the lineup. Perhaps a guy like Shane Bowers can finally breakthrough because of the amount of absences in the lineup.
Nonetheless, the bottom six will look a little different for the next couple of games, if not the couple of weeks. The Avs will miss the strength and size of Nichushkin at least for the next little while, and look to keep their winning ways on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.