Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon Sidelined for Considerable Time

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 05: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 5, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Colorado Avalanche star centre Nathan MacKinnon is injured and sidelined for up to four weeks with an upper-body injury.

Nathan MacKinnon Injury Hurts Colorado Avalanche

During the first period of play last night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Avs lost MacKinnon to injury. He took a pair of jabs up against the Flyers’ bench from Scott Laughton early in the game. Later on in the period, he whipped a wrist shot from out near the blue line that looked uncomfortable. After that shift, he traveled down the team’s tunnel to the dressing room. He did not return to the game.

So far this season, MacKinnon scored eight goals and 26 assists for 34 points through 23 games. He also collected 20 penalty minutes and a whopping 120 shots on goal. His possession numbers stand out amongst the best in the entire league too, with a 61.7 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 18.3.

Over his 10-year NHL career, MacKinnon has played exclusively for the Denver-based franchise that drafted him first overall back in 2013. He has 250 goals and 432 assists for 682 career points in 661 career games. With MacKinnon injured, the Avs must adjust dramatically.

What This Means for the Future

Well, things can’t get much worse for the Avalanche. MacKinnon’s injury came as the most recent in a long list of beat-up players on their roster. This one too marked a third-consecutive game in which they lost someone to injury. That brings their total up to 11 now, including eight regulars from their lineup. And of those eight regulars, five are top-six forwards. Obviously, MacKinnon becomes the highest-profile player on that list, but he’s far from the only important player out.

Aside from MacKinnon, Colorado remains without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who has yet to suit up this season. Artturi Lehkonen, Evan Rodrigues, Valeri Nichushkin, Darren Helm, Jean-Luc Foudy, and Shane Bowers round out the forwards out of commission. Plus, Bowen Byram, Josh Manson, and Kurtis MacDermid continue missing games on their blueline.

Their injury-riddled lineup looks more like their AHL team than it does their NHL team at the moment. Alex Galchenyuk recently received a one-year deal to help plug holes. Mikhail Maltsev, Oskar Olausson, Sampo Ranta, Jayson Megna, Charles Hudon, Anton Blidh, Andreas Englund, Ben Meyers, Martin Kaut, Jacob MacDonald, and Dryden Hunt all received tons more opportunities at the NHL level recently as result, too.

Thankfully, most of the injuries remain relatively short-term. The ones that were long-term are the ones that occurred long ago, like Landeskog and Nichushkin. For the most part, almost all of their missing bodies look to return over the next one to four weeks. The trick will be remaining competitive in the interim, with their depleted group. They’re definitely feeling it, with a 2-4-0 record over their last six games. With 12 more to play before the New Year, they just need to stay close to the playoff picture. If they can do that, there’s hardly any concern the team will right the ship once the calvary return.

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