The Colorado Avalanche are being hit with the injury bug early this season, as The Athletic’s Peter Baugh reports that forward Valeri Nichushkin is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
With the team already missing Devon Toews and Pavel Francouz from their lineup prior to the season’s start, the team’s forward core has now lost three members in the past three days. Captain Gabriel Landeskog is suspended for the next two games, Nathan MacKinnon’s season debut is on hold as he remains on COVID protocol, and it’s now apparent the Avs have lost a third top-nine forward for the time being.
The 26-year-old Nichushkin has had somewhat of a career renaissance with Colorado after a rough start with the Dallas Stars, the team that drafted him 10th overall in 2013. He’s received Selke votes in back-to-back seasons, scoring 23 goals and 48 points in 120 games from 2019 to 2021 in an Avalanche uniform. Nichushkin had one assist in 15:03 of ice time on Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.
The team will now turn to Mikko Rantanen to carry the offensive load in the absence of MacKinnon and Landeskog. They’ll look towards forwards like Andre Burakovsky, Tyson Jost, and a pair or rookies in Alex Newhook and Sampo Ranta to increase production in depth roles to compensate for the loss of Nichushkin.