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Cale Makar shouldn’t have returned to the game in St. Louis

It’s Mile High Hockey Lab time, and we just released our 15th installment!

Colorado Avalanche v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Avalanche fans were excited to see young Cale Makar back in action against the St. Louis Blues after missing numerous games due to a concussion sustained on a high hit against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That excitement didn't last as long as in the third period; Makar wore an inadvertent fist to the face, sending him off the ice again. On this occasion, he wasn't pulled by concussion spotters and returned for three shifts following the hit. Jared Bednar mentioned that the initial concerns were regarding Makar's nose and not a head injury. Kind of a silly statement considering your nose is on your head.

Safeguarding your best player is of the utmost importance, especially so early in his career. In this week's Mile High Hockey Lab episode, our writers discussed how the Cale Makar situation was handled. It seems to be the consensus that outside of letting him return to St. Louis, the Avalanche dealt with the problem correctly and continues to do so.

Makar's injury leads us to discuss other injuries like Pavel Francouz and Erik Johnson. Erik Johnson broke his ankle and is possibly done for the rest of the regular season. Thankfully Frankie seems to be on track for a return before the playoffs. Speaking of a return before the playoffs, our panel of writers discussed the importance of captain Gabe Landeskog doing just that. His play style makes us think a buffer period is even more critical. A net-front presence like Landeskog shouldn't be exposed to the wear and tear of playoff hockey without developing some conditioning and familiarity.

We circled back to Erik Johnson's injury and how that might affect Colorado's thought process heading into the NHL Trade Deadline on March 3rd. The Avalanche will likely put Johnson on LTIR to free up some cap space, which might also afford some options that weren't previously on the table. Given the current circumstances, we polled to see how fans think the Avalanche should proceed.

The panel discussed some possible trade targets for Colorado, and editor Evan Liu detailed his recent work regarding potential trade targets. Our writers discussed Timo Meier, Adam Henrique, Patrick Kane, Luke Schenn, and some Coyotes, to name a few. We all agree that the Avalanche should go for depth assets that can be retained rather than "big splash" rentals. The fans, however, want to see the Avs go big or go home, it appears.

We finished the show by addressing some of Martin Kaut's comments following his trade to San Jose. Kaut has been called up to the bigs since being traded but went pointless in fifteen minutes during his Sharks debut. Jackie Kay had much to say to support the move, and everyone agreed that Kaut could benefit from a change of scenery.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Don't forget to listen to this week's episode for even more Avalanche talk! Like, subscribe, and share! All episodes are broadcast live on our YouTube channel, so head over there and subscribe.