It appears to be going from bad to worse in Denver as the Colorado Avalanche, already dead last in the league with just 19 points, will now have to manage without their best defenseman for 6 – 8 weeks, writes Rick Sadowski of NHL.com. Erik Johnson suffered a broken fibula during the second period of the team’s 3 – 0 shutout loss to Dallas Saturday night.
Johnson, the top overall draft selection in the 2006 draft, has tallied 11 points in 23 games for the Avalanche this season. He is tied with Tyson Barrie for the scoring lead among the team’s blue line core while his 10 helpers lead the club. Johnson also ranks just behind Barrie in ice time, averaging over 22 minutes per game.
First-year bench boss Jared Bednar had been using the nine-year veteran defender on the team’s top pairing with Fedor Tyutin, according to Sadowski. However Tyutin missed Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury and is questionable to play in the team’s next game.
Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has already been dealing with questions regarding the logic of keeping his core group of players together and now has to address how best to replace his #1 defenseman. With just $1.3MM in available cap space, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to add a significant player via trade, even if one was available this early in the season. It’s possible the team will have to manage with internal options for the time being, further dampening their postseason chances.
It’s possible the team will recall Cody Goloubef from San Antonio of the AHL. Goloubef was acquired last week in a deal with Columbus involving fellow blue liner Ryan Stanton. Like Johnson, Goloubef is a right-handed shot and he also brings 96 games of NHL experience to the table.