Certain Colorado Avalanche players need to step up in the face of the ongoing injuries the team is suffering.
Well, it’s about that time in the Colorado Avalanche season: injury time. Every season the injury bug comes to nest in Avs Nation the was the June bug comes to nest in Colorado come spring.
Here’s a list of the injuries the team is currently fighting against:
- Kurtis MacDermid, defenseman
- Evan Rodrigues, center
- Bowen Byram, defenseman
- Gabriel Landeskog, left wing
- Valeri Nichushkin, right wing
- Josh Manson, defenseman
- Artturi Lehkonen, left wing
That last one is a recent development and a most unhappy one. The team is now currently missing a good percentage of their top six.
That fact could have been a factor in the team’s loss against the Boston Bruins. Granted, the Bruins are having an historic (annoyingly so) season. However, Colorado being down so many important players doesn’t help.
Who needs to step up in these cases. Well, it’s a well-known adage in hockey that the “next man up” needs to take the missing player’s place. Personally, I’m looking at Alex Newhook.
Unfortunately, asking a young man in his first hundred games in the NHL to carry the Cup contenders on his shoulders is a big ask. No, of course, that task primarily falls to stars Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar.
However, this injury situation gives the young Newhook a chance to show he can not only be a next man up but the next man up. No one’s expecting him to be Byram-territory, though they were both drafted in the first round the same year. However, Newhook can prove himself to be a solid top-six forward.
Thus far, in 22 games this season, he has four goals and three assists for seven points. Needless to say, those aren’t stellar numbers. His time on the ice has been all over the place this season, ranging from just under 12 minutes to 20. Interestingly, those numbers came in consecutive games. Not so interestingly, he had the same result in both games — goose eggs across the board.
This isn’t a Newie hate party, far from it. The way the kid skates and tracks the puck, he’s sure to start making more of a positive impact on the games.
Meanwhile, we still have the aforementioned stars. MacKinnon, unsurprisingly, leads the pack with 33 points (8 goals, 25 assists), followed closely by Rantanen with 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists). Makar isn’t so far behind with 23 points (6 goals, 17 assists).
Aside from Newhook, J.T. Compher and Andrew Cogliano could use to start their scoring engines to help the team over this injury-laden patch. Thus far, Compher has three goals and nine assists for 12 points while Cogliano is sitting on four goals and three assists for seven points.
When the injury bug starts biting, we fans always question if there’s something in the coaching or conditioning that could change. Why do injuries hit Colorado so hard every year? Well, I don’t know if coaching or conditioning are factors. However, we have to remember that teams are likely to take extra pot shots at the reigning Cup champs. Ah, the price of glory.
The remaining healthy Colorado Avalanche players have a chance to make their marks tomorrow in the game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Who knows? Maybe even our newly-acquired Alex Galchenyuk will step up.