Colorado Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland told reporters today that he expects defenseman Josh Manson to be ready for the start of training camp after an offseason procedure. Manson missed the last two games of Colorado’s first-round loss to the Seattle Kraken with an undisclosed injury, likely related to the procedure MacFarland mentioned.
Last season was a trying one for Manson, who appeared in just 27 regular-season games due to two lower-body injuries. It was his first full campaign in Colorado after inking a four-year, $18MM deal with trade protection when free agency opened in July 2022 after playing a crucial role in the team’s run to the 2022 Stanley Cup. Coming over from the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline, Manson notched eight points in 20 playoff games, adding a +6 rating. Even when in the lineup last season, it wasn’t a smooth start to Manson’s hefty new deal – most commonly paired with Bowen Byram, the pair controlled just 40% of expected goals when on the ice together, per MoneyPuck, a figure Byram far exceeded with his other partners. With mainstay Erik Johnson moving on for the Buffalo Sabres in free agency this summer, the Avs will need a rejuvenated and healthy Manson to play a key role as their second-best right-shot defender behind Cale Makar.
Elsewhere in the realm of injury news tonight:
- Reports earlier in the week surfaced that Colorado was looking to add a goaltender with backup Pavel Francouz’s health uncertain. Today, MacFarland also confirmed that Francouz is not yet cleared to return after undergoing offseason adductor surgery and remains “banged up” without a timeline to return. He did note, however, that Francouz has returned to Denver and Avalanche team doctors will evaluate him next week. While often injured, Francouz has given the Avs solid play when cleared to occupy the crease, going 8-7-1 with a .915 save percentage last season in 16 starts.
- Unfortunately, top Los Angeles Kings defense prospect Brandt Clarke won’t get to join the team on their preseason excursion to the 2023 NHL Global Series in Melbourne, Australia, next weekend. That’s because he’s sustained an undisclosed injury which requires seven to ten days without contact, per Mayor’s Manor. Clarke, who looks to make the Kings out of camp after a nine-game trial last season, will continue skating in LA and rehabbing his injury while the travel squad, presumably made up of the team’s expected NHL roster, is away. The eighth overall pick in 2021 was named to the OHL’s and CHL’s First All-Star teams in 2022-23 after recording 61 points in 31 games after his mid-season return to junior hockey with the OHL’s Barrie Colts. The 20-year-old right-shot defender projects to begin the season in a third-pairing role behind Drew Doughty and Matt Roy.
- Philadelphia Flyers forward prospect Jon-Randall Avon sustained a PCL sprain in his left knee just before rookie camps got underway, per PHLY Sports’ Charlie O’Connor. The 20-year-old center will miss between four and six weeks, keeping him out of the remainder of Flyers rookie and training camp. A free agent signing in 2021 after going undrafted, Avon recorded 60 points in 59 games with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes last season and will likely make his pro debut with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season when healthy.