Valeri Nichushkin out indefinitely after injured ankle
Injuries have hit the Avalanche hard all season, but they received some good news three weeks ago when Valeri Nichushkin was able to return to the roster after a six-week absence with ankle surgery. However, he missed Tuesday’s loss to Arizona and head coach Jared Bednar confirmed at The Denver Gazette’s Kyle Frederickson that the winger re-injured his ankle. There is no timetable for his return.
The 27-year-old is in the first season of an eight-year, $49 million contract signed in July. He got off to a great start before his original injury, scoring a dozen points in his first seven games. But his output had plummeted since his return as he had just four assists in the eight games he has featured in this month. Even so, he’s seventh in scoring for Colorado despite missing more than half the season due to injury.
Nichushkin joins an injured squad that includes (but is not limited to) center Nathan MacKinnon, winger Gabriel Landeskog, defensemen Josh Manson and Bowen Byram and goaltender Pavel Francouz. In total, the Avs have more than $27 million in contracts for players currently unavailable due to injury. Even with LTIR, Colorado has frozen rosters lately that were below the salary cap floor and with most of their injured players still facing extended absences, that’s unlikely to change in the near future.
Despite the injuries, Colorado still trails in the playoff mix, tied for a Wild Card position and just two points from a guaranteed final berth in the Central Division.