Nathan MacKinnon, the Avalanche’s best player, is now injured.
MacKinnon played the first two periods for the Avs against the Minnesota Wild tonight, but did not come out for the third period of a tie game. The Avs said, shortly after the period started, that the team’s leading scorer would not return for the rest of the game because of a lower-body injury.
MacKinnon adds to an ever-expanding Avs injury list, which already included Pavel Francouz, Erik Johnson, P.E. Bellemare, Devon Toews and Matt Calvert. Those six players constitute more than 25-percent of the Avs’ opening-night roster.
It is not yet clear how MacKinnon was hurt.
The Avs already were playing short-handed tonight, not just because of injuries but because of a bizarre salary-cap compliance issue. The team could only dress 11 forwards, along with six defensemen. The team said it could not dress fourth-line forward Kiefer Sherwood because of a “cap compliance issue.” According to PuckPedia, the Avs only had $267,022 of cap space entering tonight. Playing Sherwood would have put them over the cap. Some of this is because the Avs have too many players on the injured list, and bringing guys of the taxi squad, like they had to do with defenseman Jacob MacDonald, put them in a cap crunch.
The Avs have been plagued by injury problems the past couple of years, and the trend just continues unabated. We’ll let you know what coach Jared Bednar has to say about the MacKinnon injury after the game. Stay tuned…