The storyline continues.
Injuries continue to be the definition of the Colorado Avalanche’s season. Every game since the All-Star Break, at least one injury or player has been ruled out of the game or missing the games.
It just never stops. So, let’s provide some updates, starting with the most recent addition to the list.
Francouz was first off the ice Saturday at morning skate and seemed to be facing the Florida Panthers. However, Alexandar Georgiev played in net while Francouz was backing him up on the bench.
It came to greater light when it was announced on Monday morning he has a lower body with no timeline for his return. Thus, Colorado called up Jonas Johansson from the Colorado Eagles to fill his spot.
Pavel Francouz has a lower-body injury. He won’t practice today.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) February 13, 2023
Johansson has been solid in the AHL with a .917 save percentage in 21 games, with a 2.42 goals-against average. Of course, the AHL is much different than the NHL as in his one NHL game this season he was on the back end of a blowout by the Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year's Eve.
Now more than ever, this injury could cost the Avs. Starting Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado has three sets of back-to-backs all against teams they’re going up against in the race for the playoffs.
Jared Bednar would likely have wanted to roll with Georgiev and Francouz through this tough and bizarre stretch of the season, but now has a choice to make. Does he go through a rotation with Johansson or does he roll with Georgiev consistently in back-to-back matches? Fate shall decide what the Avs try and do to get through this stretch.
Also on the backend are some injury updates, but more along the positive side of things. Manson was skating with the team in a regular black practice jersey Monday morning. His return seems imminent, as was demonstrated further when Brad Hunt was placed and cleared from waivers over the weekend to join the Colorado Eagles.
However, it was stated he’s “unlikely” to play against the Lightning on Tuesday. Thus, Bednar commented he’d likely need to call up one more player from the AHL. Will Hunt come back up? Will a forward come up and Kurtis MacDermid play forward with Andreas Englund in defense and go back to 12 forwards and six defensemen?
Manson is wearing a full contact sweater as he came out on the ice this morning. #GoAvsGo #Avs @FullPressNHL pic.twitter.com/jO6ToSGAER— Brennan Vogt (@brennan_vogt) February 13, 2023
Colorado’s great No. 8 is still recovering from his dirty hit to the head against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week. While he was able to finish the game, he did not feel good the next morning and returned to Denver for rehab.
Makar was at practice with a red non-contact jersey Monday but did not skate with the main group. He’d been skating since his injury working through the kinks. While Bednar has commented he is continuing to get better daily, he has no set date to return.
Thank you, Jeff Carter.
What had been seen as a possible career-ending injury may not be the case anymore for Helm. He’s been consistently on the ice independently working to fitness. He has continued to push harder and may be eyeing a return back sooner rather than later, which would be impactful for the Avs depth. However, Bednar said he has no timeline for return.
Makar and Helm out here getting in some work before practice. #Avs pic.twitter.com/jzwIPqkc8c— Jesse Montano (@jessemontano_) February 13, 2023
More importantly, if he can return this season, the Avs could look elsewhere as the trade deadline approaches. Depth as a whole has been an issue this season, and as players have gone down with injuries the depth has been unable to fill all the gaps.
If Helm returns and stays healthy, it will help the depth incredibly and Colorado could make moves elsewhere other than looking for Helm’s replacement for the season and beyond. But, with no timeline at the moment, it’s all up in the air.
EJ blocked a shot in Saturday’s game against the Panthers and did not return after the first period. He was not at practice Monday morning either. While Manson seems good to go and return, the Avs may need Hunt again from the AHL before this stretch of games. This is due to the fact he is out for a lower-body injury with no timeline.
Johnson was spotted postgame after the Panthers win in street clothes with no boot or limp on his foot where he blocked the shot. But, at least for now, still uncomfortable enough to not put on skates to give it a shot and out for an unknown period of time. Shucks.
Jared Bednar did not have specifics on the severity of Erik Johnson’s injury.— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) February 12, 2023
But I did spot EJ in street clothes outside the #Avs locker room. No boot. Did not appear to be limping.
Finally, the captain of the Avalanche is still greatly missed around the side. While he’s been going between Toronto and Philadelphia to work independently off the ice on his knee, it was last reported he’d be returning to the ice to skate in Denver “sometime in the middle of February.”
Well, the middle of February is quickly approaching. As several people have already said online, we will just have to wait and see what ends up happening. Now, Bednar stated he now has no timeline after practice on Monday. It seems as if his return has been pushed back once again.
For the nth time this season, Landeskog’s return to the ice and getting back to action has been pushed back. Ever since his initial surgery in October, to returning in January, to then February, then March, and now who knows when the Avs simply may go a full season without their captain at this point.
#Avs will have to make call-ups before tomorrow, Jared Bednar said. Cale Makar, Erik Johnson, Pavel Francouz and likely Josh Manson are all out.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) February 13, 2023
No timeline for Makar, Johnson, Francouz and Landeskog, Bednar said.
Valeri Nichushkin missed today for maintenance.
So, what now?
All of this is not great news across all fronts after Monday’s practice. It could be detrimental to the Avs’ season as they go back to December’s lineup with people asking “who is in our lineup?!”
As they enter huge games in February before a busy and full March schedule, the Avs need everything they can get on a nightly basis and just pray to the hockey Gods to stop the bleeding and turmoil Colorado has faced all season long.
Man games lost without a fully healthy lineup have cost the Avs greatly all year too. The standings are all you need to look at to prove said point along with the injury lists. Bednar said it himself. They’ve dealt with it all year long, and probably will for the rest of the season, unfortunately. And it is getting frustrating for everybody involved.
“The #1 team in our division is Dallas. And they have, I think it was 13 man games lost. They’ve had three guys get hurt. And we’re gonna have more than that this week.”— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) February 13, 2023
Bednar on what they’ve dealt with this year.
Grr. I think the question needs to be asked now: Do the Colorado Avalanche miss the playoffs due to injuries at least being a factor? Let out your frustrations in the comments below.
Do the Colorado Avalanche miss the playoffs thanks to injuries?
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