Colorado Avalanche: Early March Injury Update

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Sven Andrighetto
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Sven Andrighetto /

Colorado Avalanche players are getting healthy — some enough to return to the lineup as soon as during the upcoming road trip.

The Colorado Avalanche are getting healthy just in time for their home stretch playoff push. If main players get healthy now, well, it certainly helps Colorado’s chances of making the playoffs.

First of all, goalie Jonathan Bernier has been officially reactivated from injured reserve. He suffered a concussion on Friday, February 16 in the game against the Winnipeg Jets. Semyon Varlamov had to come into the game as Bernier left to undergo the concussion protocol. He’s been out ever since, missing eight games.

The Avalanche have sent backup backup backup goalie Spencer Martin back down to San Antonio — he’s been backup since the original backup backup, Andrew Hammond, suffered a freak concussion injury in the game against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, February 26. Martin has been sitting in as backup for the last three games. Hammond has been skating in a red no-contact jersey before the last couple practices.

Next, forward Sven Andrighetto participated in a full practice today with a regular jersey:

Andrieghetto crashed into the boards in the December 31 game against the New York Islanders. He’s been out ever since, missing a total of 27 games. The Lost Boy — we were beginning to question where he even was — started skating in no-contact red a couple days ago. According to BSN’s Jesse Montano, he hasn’t been officially cleared to play, but he’s going on the road trip with the Avalanche.

No word on whether he’ll be wearing socks — I’m guessing not.

An even more Lost Boy,

Vladislav Kamenev

, is in a similar position. Kamenev played about three shifts in his Colorado Avalanche debut before a huge hit by the Washington Capitals’

Brooks Orpik

broke his arm:

Kamenev had to have surgery to repair the arm:

However, he’s recently been well enough to go lounging on the beach in Cancun and rest casually against the injured arm:

The injury happened all the way back on November 16, 2018. Kamenev has been reactivated. It was thought he’d report to San Antonio on a conditioning assignment, but he’s traveling with the team. In practice, he skated on a line with Andrighetto and Nail Yakupov.

I’m going to be honest, I hate seeing two players returning from long injuries skating on a line with anyone, much less Yakupov, who prefers consistency. I personally would add Dominic Toninato or Gabriel Bourque back in for Kamenev. He really should be in San Antonio getting hockey ready again.

Side note: With players returning from injury, the Kid Line has been put back together:

Tyson JostAlexander KerfootJ.T. Compher

Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche /

Colorado Avalanche

Mark Barberio is another Lost Boy. He went down with a leg injury in the same game that saw Erik Johnson get injured — more on that in a moment. He exited the February 18 game against the Edmonton Oilers and essentially vanished for a week. There have been sightings of him recently, though.

Barberio is still on injured reserve. However, he started skating in a no-contact jersey before practice a couple days ago. Today, he was handling and shooting pucks. He’s missed seven games so far.

And now to the worst news that’s transforming into the best news. Erik Johnson suffered a separated shoulder in the Oilers game. It looked to be a season-ending injury for our best defensemen and one of our most important players.

However, Johnson was at the last couple practices skating beforehand in a red, no-contact jersey. Now, he’s upgraded to skating before practice in the no-contact jersey and handling pucks.

This is much bigger news than the re-emergence of Barberio not only because of the caliber of the player but also the nature of the injury. Johnson suffered a left shoulder injury — and that’s his dominant hand. Yet here he is handling pucks:

That’s far from definitive that he’ll return soon or even this season. However, it’s a big step in the right direction. The return of Johnson above all the other players on this list would significantly strengthen this team’s effort at making a run at the playoffs.

Next: Strategies for the Road Trip

The Colorado Avalanche are flying to Chicago for tomorrow’s game against the Blackhawks. They’ll conclude their brief road trip by heading to Columbus for a Thursday game with the Blue Jackets.