The Colorado Avalanche announced they will be without Bowen Byram, suffering from an undisclosed upper-body injury tonight. Though he practiced today, reports came out that he won’t be in the lineup against the San Jose Sharks.
Bowen Byram is not feeling good today after the elbow the other night. He's out tonight. #Avs
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) November 13, 2021
Bowen Byram Out vs Sharks Saturday
The mixed news coming from Colorado still falls in the category of “bad news” overall. Byram, 20, entered his sophomore season after a rookie campaign plagued with injury. He got off to a torrid start, with three goals and five assists (eight points) in his first 11 games. He had only two assists to his name prior to this season, in 19 games played last year as a rookie. His ice time grew to nearly 20 minutes a night on average so far this year as well, with a tremendous 10.7 relative Corsi to boot.
Byram exited the team’s 7-1 route of the Vancouver Canucks after taking an elbow to the head from Bo Horvat. The Avs will proceed with caution, as the young defenceman already owns a history of concussions. Colorado started slow, but Byram has been a bright spot the whole way through thus far.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel Claimed Off of Waivers
Colorado snagged 25-year-old winger Aube-Kubel from the Flyers Saturday too. It’s no offset for Byram, but undoubtedly helps the team’s depth on offence. Aube-Kubel only owns one assist in seven games this year thus far, but his usage also dropped to under ten minutes per game.
In 102 career contests, Aube-Kubel has ten goals, 18 assists for 28 points. He skated in 50 of 56 games in last year’s COVID-shortened campaign, the most in his four-year NHL career. He has some upside, and on a Colorado team plagued by injuries so far, he should receive an opportunity to resurrect his career.
What This Means for the Future
The Avalanche knew coming into this season that their depth would be tested. They lost quite a few big names to free agency as they ran into a cap crunch. Joonas Donskoi, Brandon Saad, Ryan Graves, Philipp Grubauer, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Carl Soderberg, Patrik Nemeth, Matt Calvert, Connor Timmins…they all left in one fashion or another. Without much cap room to replace them, the Avalanche turned to their pipeline to fill the gaps.
Byram has done so fantastically thus far. Losing him hurts, for sure. That being said, the team can slide defencemen into the lineup who already have plenty of games under their belt this season. Since the team played without Devon Toews for the first nine games, they’ve already mixed pairs and seen nine different blueliners suit up. Murray can jump back in seamlessly. Byram added enough that his presence can’t be replaced without noticing, but the team does possess promise at that position.
The place where depth causes a more glaring issue for the Avs is on offence. Alex Newhook just joined the club from the minors and looked good against Vancouver. Prior to that, the team cycled through Stefan Matteau, Mikhail Maltsev, Jayson Megna, Dylan Sikura, and Martin Kaut in various capacities. They’re trying to find a group that can consistently play in the bottom six. Claiming Aube-Kubel provides yet another option, with the hope that he can stick.