A fan-favourite and one of the top players on the Colorado Avalanche, Valeri Nichushkin, unfortunately will miss Friday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils. He is dealing with a “lower-body injury.”
Through seven games of the 2022 season, Nichushkin has put up 12 points (seven goals and five assists), including a two-goal outing against the Chicago Blackhawks to begin the season. He has had at least three shots in every game this season except for the 3-2 loss against the Seattle Kraken.
Nichushkin’s speed and shot ability is going to be missed.
The Avalanche will instead have Martin Kaut fill in on the second line with Alex Newhook and Evan Rodrigues. Rodrigues has played in all seven games for the Avalanche this season since arriving as a free agent. He has two goals.
When it comes to this sort of thing in the NHL, it is always interesting to see how well players fit with their line mates. The fact that Nichushkin will miss Friday’s game is very unfortunate because he is a player that does so much for his team.
In 24 games in the NHL, Kaut has two goals and one assist.
Kaut was drafted 16th overall by the Avalanche in the 2018 NHL Draft. He has spent most of his time with the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. Last season for the Eagles, he played in 46 games and scored 19 goals and 12 assists.
I anticipate the second line might struggle quite a bit with Nichushkin out of the lineup. He’s just such a difference maker and unless the Avalanche had a big star to replace him, things are going to look much different.
It is not all bad, however. Nichushkin is listed just as day-to-day, so I don’t think that he should miss a whole lot of time. By the sounds of it, it is nothing too major. The Colorado Avalanche will be fine, but losing him for any amount of time is a big deal.