Colorado Avalanche: 5 Players Who Must Work Together in Erik Johnson’s Absence

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 18: Erik Johnson
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 18: Erik Johnson /
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DENVER, CO – FEBRUARY 06: Erik Johnson /

The Colorado Avalanche must rely on several players to step up and work together in Erik Johnson’s absence.

The Colorado Avalanche are without their best defenseman, Erik Johnson. He has officially been put on injured reserve. At the time of writing, details hadn’t been released about his injury. However, I’m pretty sure he’s done for the season.

I can’t overstate how big of a loss this is for the Avalanche. Remember, the loss of Johnson to a broken leg last year coincided with their freefall. Johnson brings a host of both tangibles and intangibles.

While he’s not a high-scoring defenseman, he’s a talented two-way d-man who can eat up the ice with his long stride in impressive coast-to-coast plays.

When Johnson does quarterback the power play, he’s always in a good position to keep the puck in the zone. As I’ve always said, he’s got a bomb of a shot from the point.

Johnson is the cornerstone of the defense, the captain of the blueline. He’s also one of the main physical presences.

Johnson has always been a leader. He’s know for being the voice in the locker room. I like to think of him as Gabriel Landeskog‘s henchman. Landeskog is about inclusion — Johnson is about making sure you’re doing your best.

Erik Johnson is the best chance the Avalanche have at stopping opponents. Whether it’s Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, or whomever else comprises the opponent’s top line, Johnson is the one you want on the ice.

In that vein, Johnson is the main man when it comes to the penalty kill. He’s been known to play the entire two-minutes of the power play.

He eats up game minutes, averaging around 24 minutes time on the ice.

Those aren’t some big shoes to fill — those are a lot of shoes to fill. Johnson is an integral aspect of the Avalanche team. So, it’s not a matter of a few players or even all players stepping up to fill his shoes. Rather, the players are going to have to work together as a committee to fill in the gaps in Johnson’s absence.