The Colorado Avalanche’s playoff push has been dealt a huge blow with the news Nazem Kadri is out indefinitely. Coach Jared Bednar told Marc Moser and crew on Altitude Sports Radio in Colorado this morning, that the second line center will be out for ‘weeks not days’ after suffering a lower body injury in Sunday’s 3-2 win at the Minnesota Wild.
The injury now means every member of the Avalanche’s opening night top six, bar Nathan MacKinnon, has missed time this season due to injury and Kadri’s could not have come at a worse time as the Av’s try to chase down the St Louis Blues in the Central Division.
Kadri was traded to the Avalanche in the summer from the Toronto Maple Leafs with Defenseman Tyson Barrie and center Alexander Kerfoot going the other way. It was believed Kadri would provide a stability to the second line center role the Av’s had been struggling with and so far this season it seemed to work.
With 36 points in 51 games, Kadri is currently fifth in points on the Avalanche, but his 19 goals is bettered only by superstar center Nathan MacKinnon. Filling that void is now the headache coach Bednar is faced with as the Avalanche start their final 31 games against the Ottawa Senators tonight at the Pepsi Center.
Vladislav Kamenev has been the healthy scratch a lot this season and will become the 12th forward tonight against the Ottawa Senators, but going forward Bednar also has options from a red hot AHL affiliate in the Colorado Eagles. Sheldon Dries played some time with the Avalanche last year and currently has 18 goals and 32 points in 43 games with the Eagles, while Logan O’Connor has 10 goals and 22 points in 35 games and was also a call up to the Av’s during their injury hit start to the season.
The era of the 1b is here
The most intriguing name of all though is Shane Bowers. After a slow start to the AHL season that saw him injured, Bowers now has 9 goals and 23 points in 36 games. Bowers was a part of that massive Matt Duchene trade in 2017 that saw the Av’s also pick up Defenseman Samuel Girard, Kamenev and a first round pick that became prospect Bowen Byram.
Ideally you would leave Bowers in the AHL to pick up more minutes, possibly even at center if O’Connor or Dries are called up, as whomever does get the nod will probably have limited minutes which could hinder his ongoing progress.
It’s also a chance for the likes of JT Compher, who will start as second line center tonight, and Tyson Jost to step up and come up big for the Av’s. Compher has been solid if not spectacular with 8 goals and 25 points in 51 games, however Jost has struggled to produce with just 5 goals and 16 points in 51 games. Three of those goals coming in one game against the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this season.
Sorry @NHLonNBC but there is a wrong answer
The Av’s prepared for this type of scenario in the summer by adding the likes of Joonas Donskoi, Andre Burakovsky, Valeri Nichushkin and Pierre-Édouard Bellemare along with some AHL depth. With Kadri now out its time to see just how deep this team really is.