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Zhuravlyov returns to Russia

One more blow to the Avalanche’s depth.

Switzerland v Russia - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

In a surprising turn of events and yet another blow to the Colorado Avalanche depth on defense is the announced departure of one of their very few defense prospects remaining in Daniil Zhuravlyov. The 2018 fifth round draft pick played 14 games with the Colorado Eagles and registered one assist in his first season in North America. Rumors swirled that his old club in the KHL Ak Bars Kazan was going to bring him home to Russia and those concerns were confirmed.

The suspension is just procedural in nature for those under contract who leave the team for other opportunities. If the Avalanche do not terminate his Entry Level Contract there is the possibility that Zhuravlyov could return at some point especially since the deal runs through the 2023-24 season. There have been suggestions that the reasons for Zhuravlyov’s departure are of a personal family nature and that could leave the door open to returning when or if those concerns are resolved.

Not only has the organization lost depth on the back end with Zhuravlyov but AHL contracted mainstay hybrid forward/defenseman Rob Hamilton announced his exit from the Colorado Eagles and a move to the KHL as well just a week ago. What was already a very thin blue line in the AHL due to the Avalanche’s injury woes and lack of prospects becomes an even more critical situation as the Eagles struggle to find bodies despite continuing on with a winning 10-5-1 record.

Where will the Avalanche turn to now in hopes of rebuilding defensive depth in the system? The impending return of Sam Girard to the NHL lineup should help in the immediate future but the ongoing lack of depth bubbling just under the surface will have to get addressed at some point. The pipeline is running thin and scant assets to make any sort of trade will make this situation even more difficult.