Avalanche Coach Gives Injury Update On 4 Key Players

The Colorado Avalanche have been banged up this season, causing them to actually sit outside of a playoff spot right now. Nathan MacKinnon finally made his return to the lineup and Jared Bednar, the Avalanche's coach, delivered some more good news regarding four other injured players.

He said Valeri Nichushkin and Evan Rodrigues will go on the coming road trip which starts against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 5. There's no guarantee they'll play, but it is a positive sign in their recoveries. Bednar also reiterated that he expects both Gabriel Landeskog and Bowen Byram to be back at some point this season.

Those are four major pieces that have been missing from the lineup. Landeskog, the Avalanche captain, has been out of action this entire season after the team won the Stanley Cup. It threw off some of the chemistry and the team has had to adjust. But even more than that, the team has been without Nichushkin and Rodrigues who are keys to their success.

Nichushkin really broke out last season with 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games. He only improved on that this season when he's been in the lineup with seven goals and 16 points in 15 games. It has been clear the Avalanche is missing his scoring and presence in the top-six.

Rodrigues hasn't been out as long as the others, but has still missed 10 games. He is a viable option as the second line centre which the team has had a tough time finding a permanent solution for since losing Nazem Kadri in the offseason. Rodrigues has nine goals, 16 points, and is averaging nearly 19 minutes a game.

Byram was starting to make big strides in his young career, but was once again slowed by injuries. He has played just 10 games this season, but has scored two goals and five points. Considering the amount of time he will be missing, it is hurtful to his development.

The Avalanche are starting to get healthy at an integral time in the season as they need to make up some ground and become the team they were last season.

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