While the Avalanche had some good news today when they extended Pavel Francouz, they also got some bad news as they will be without two key players for the next little while. The team announced (Twitter link) that winger Gabriel Landeskog is set to undergo knee surgery on Monday. There is no firm timetable for his return but Colorado hopes to have him back for the stretch run which would take any thought of putting him on LTIR for the rest of the regular season to open up cap space off the table.
This isn’t a newly-suffered injury for Landeskog as he played in nearly 19 minutes on Thursday against Carolina before receiving a misconduct penalty in the dying seconds of regulation. Instead, head coach Jared Bednar indicated that this is an issue that has been nagging him for a little bit and they’ve decided to get it fixed before the playoffs. The knee problem hasn’t really held Landeskog back, however, as he has 30 goals and 29 assists in 51 games this season, good for fifth in team scoring.
Meanwhile, Peter Baugh of The Athletic adds (Twitter link) that blueliner Samuel Girard will miss the next four weeks with a lower-body injury. While that makes him LTIR-eligible as well, that’s a recovery timeline that would easily have him back by the end of the season so Colorado, who doesn’t have a lot of cap space to work with at the upcoming trade deadline, won’t get much help on that front either.
Girard’s numbers are down slightly this season although he has still managed to pick up 27 points in 56 games while logging nearly 22 minutes a night. Kurtis MacDermid took Girard’s place in the lineup on Thursday and with the Avs having seven other blueliners on the active roster, they shouldn’t need to recall anyone from AHL Colorado to take his place on the roster. Such a move will likely need to be made for Landeskog, however, unless they decide to shift MacDermid to the wing and put Jack Johnson back in on defense. Either way, lineup changes are coming in advance of their game tomorrow against Calgary.
Meanwhile, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post relays that blueliner Bowen Byram participated in his first full practice today in more than two months. He has been dealing with post-concussion symptoms so the Avs will undoubtedly be cautious when it comes to working the 20-year-old back into the lineup but if he’s able to return soon, he’d certainly help absorb the blow of Girard’s absence.
Landeskog’s loss is worse than the gain made by the absence of Sammy Spin-O-Rama, the pizza server. That said, Byram should not be rushed back. He really needs to be symptom free, not just “close enough” (duh, right?).