Why the Colorado Avalanche will have to play without their best defenseman
Posted On July 4, 2021
The Colorado Avalanche won the Presidents’ Trophy last season and they’re coming off a historic playoff run, but they’ve been without the captain of the team since the playoffs.
Injuries have hampered the team and captain Gabriel Landeskog has missed nearly all of training camp with a lower-body injury, but the Avs are still hoping to get back their captain and first-line center.
“I think they’ll be in the mix for a playoff spot, especially when they’ve had some injuries,” coach Jared Bednar said.
“I think it’ll be a pretty tough team to beat.”
The Avs, who will face the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs, have been without Landesokog since the end of October.
He’s had back spasms since early November, and his conditioning is poor, but he was expected to return to the lineup for the first time since October 4 when the team was eliminated from the postseason.
“He’s got a lot of back problems,” coach Todd McLellan said.
Landeskogs condition improved slightly in the past week, and he’s said that he’s getting better and has a chance to play again.
“We’re hoping he’s ready to play,” McLellas said.
The Avy are also hoping that Landesog can help them keep their defense afloat.
The Avs’ best defenseman, Matt Duchene, was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues last season, but his return to Colorado was delayed because of injury.
Duchene has missed the last three games with a fractured left hand, and defenseman Travis Hamonic is out with a groin injury.
The Avalanche are also short on defenseman depth.
The team has been without three of its top four defensemen: defenseman Andrei Markov, defenseman Zach Parise and goalie Jonas Hiller.
The Avys were able to trade the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the offseason.
The 23-year-old Ekman is the youngest defenseman in the league, and is projected to be one of the top three players in the NHL in the coming years.
Ekman has six goals and 15 points in 30 games.