The Colorado Avalanche are dealing with an Avalanche of injuries so far in the 2022-2023 NHL regular season. Colorado suffered another blow over the last week as superstar centerman Nathan MacKinnon is going to be out for the next month with an upper-body injury. The Avalanche are struggling to win games and could be in danger of missing the playoffs.
NHL picks had Colorado as the favorites to repeat as 2022-2023 NHL Stanley Cup Champions, but that could be in trouble. What does this Nathan MacKinnon injury mean for the Avalanche moving forward?
Missing MacKinnon’s Scoring Production
In 23 games played so far this season for the Colorado Avalanche, he has scored eight goals and has recorded 26 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of 7. MacKinnon is scoring over a point per game in the NHL this season, which is one of the best in the NHL. With him being out for over a month, this is likely to end the conversation of him potentially winning the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP Award) this season.
Colorado is struggling to begin with, even with all of the injuries they have dealt with this season. Not having Nathan MacKinnon around for the next month will be a big deal for them because he is one of the best players in the entire NHL. His speed and skill is among the best in the league, and his transition game is something else. Nathan MacKinnon is always looking to score every time he touches the puck.
The Wear and Tear This Hockey Team Is Taking
Winning a Stanley Cup Title takes a lot of wear and tear on a hockey team. It hits teams differently, and this is one of those cases where the injury bug doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. To go along with Nathan MacKinnon, some of the other injuries the Avalanche have had to deal with are Evan Rodrigues, Arturri Lehkonen, Valeri Nichushkin, Josh Manson, Bowen Byram, and Gabriel Landeskog.
The point is that they are missing four of their top six forward and two of their key defenseman. Cale Makar is currently one of the more healthy players, and he simply can’t carry this hockey team alone. Even if Makar is the best defenseman in the entire NHL, his speed and skill on the backend cannot make up for the offensive production and talent the Avalanche are missing from the lineup.
Head coach Jared Bednar can’t control these injuries, and he will have to find a way to steal some wins along the way until everyone can get back healthy and ready to go for a stretch run late in the season.
Could It Be Too Late?
If the NHL regular season ended today, the Colorado Avalanche would be on the outside looking in for the 2022-2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Colorado has played 24 games so far this season and has a 13-10-1 record with 27 points. They are currently fourth in the Central Division and are two points back of the Calgary Flames for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche could be the first team to miss the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs after winning a Stanley Cup Title since the Carolina Hurricanes when they missed it in 2006-2007 after they won it all in 2005-2006 against the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.
It is quite possible that it is getting late early for the Colorado Avalanche this season. It will be interesting to see what happens as this season progresses and if the Avalanche of injuries will simply be too much to overcome. This is just simply bad luck for them. All championship teams the following season are always the hunted and always get worn down at some point due to the injury bug.
It will be interesting to see if they are still around for a potential playoff spot when everyone gets back and if they can get hot and win 17-of-20 games. If everyone is healthy, they have the talent to do it. If not, the Colorado Avalanche will most likely not repeat as NHL Stanley Cup Champions because their team is not good enough with the goaltending they have in Alexander Georgiev.