The surging Colorado Avalanche have suffered a setback in their pursuit to overtake the St. Louis Blues for the lead in the Central Division and Western Conference. Head coach Jared Bednar revealed to the media on Tuesday that center Nazem Kadri has suffered a lower-body injury and is set to miss “weeks, not days.” Kadri was injured in the second period on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild and return for just one shift in the third period before exiting the game.
Kadri, 29, has played an integral role for the Avalanche this season after coming over from the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer. In a campaign that has featured lengthy absences from the likes of Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, Kadri has been a steady secondary scorer for Colorado, recording 19 goals – second only to Nathan MacKinnon – and 36 points. Had Kadri stayed healthy, he would have been on pace for the second-best season of his career. He has also been far and away the team’s best face-off man and among the leading forwards in power play time and hits.
Kadri’s absence, especially as the Avs are in the midst of a 7-1-2 run a rolling on all cylinders, is a stroke of bad luck for player and team. The good news is that the injury occurred prior to the trade deadline, with enough time to react and refocus their trade pursuits. Colorado was already considered a top buyer at the deadline, given their position in the standings and considerable cap space, but now they have even more incentive to add depth up front. It’s fair to consider the Avalanche players for nearly every top name on the market. In the meantime, the team will have to lean more heavily on their other secondary scorers, particularly centers J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost, and hope that slumping star Landeskog can rediscover his game. Colorado will need help in some way, shape, or form as they await a return from Kadri, likely not until next month.