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Avalanche Mailbag: Landeskog’s Injury, Comparing to Last Year’s Team



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It’s an off day for the Colorado Avalanche. With the schedule about to really tighten up, expect more off days and optional practices at this point of the year.

That means it’s time for a mailbag. The Avalanche were on a 14-2-2 run until they lost their defensive structure. Now they’ve lost three in a row, and fans are concerned. Consistency has been a bit of an issue this year, to say the least.

With the trade deadline now in the past, a lot of people are questioning why the Avalanche didn’t make any big moves. People also want to know what’s going on with Gabriel Landeskog.

So let’s get to it.

Do you think the avs front office mismanaged the Landeskog injury situation? It sure seems like they’re going to go an entire year without him and without using the possible LTIR money. Just seems like there was some sort of disorganization around his injury status in the fall

I expected Landeskog to miss the start of the season once the playoffs finished. He was clearly hobbled, and with the shorter summer, there was no way he was going to be ready.

The surgery in November was supposed to take him out an additional 12 weeks. At the end of those 12 weeks (which was in January), we were told they had thrown that timeline out the window. Now we sit in March and they don’t even seem sure he’s going to make it back this season. I genuinely think they don’t know. Recovery seems to be going much slower than they anticipated, and that’s cause for concern. Concern not just for this season, but for the future.

I know some people looked at their quiet deadline as the Avalanche planning for Landeskog to be their big trade deadline pickup. My concern is that it’s the exact opposite. They didn’t want to swing for the fences because they aren’t sure if he’s going to make it back.

I’ve watched Landeskog skate multiple times over the last few weeks. To me, it looks like he’s getting better, but I’m not a doctor. He’s not going anywhere near full speed, that’s for sure. The regular season ends in 38 days. Do I see him coming back into the lineup before the regular season ends? At this rate, it doesn’t seem likely, which is terrible. I would really like to be wrong about that, though.

They obviously planned for his return this year. If that doesn’t happen, there will be a lot of questions.

Do you think the core players kind of take McFarlands lack of urgency to add a bigger piece than Eller at the deadline as a slap in the face? I feel like with the west being so weak and the east being a blood bath taking a big swing would’ve been justified this year.

No, I don’t think they look at is as a slap in the face. A lot of the core that won the Stanley Cup last year is still here, and up until this little losing streak, they were on a roll. I do think that the team earned a little boost after battling through so much adversity this year with injuries. Not getting that is a disappointment, but not a slap in the face.

How do think this Avs team compares to last year’s team? How do you think their competition compares to last year’s? Edm, Vegas, Dallas seem better (modestly) and out East looks much improved imo.

I have no doubt this team is not as good as last year. No Kadri and Burakovsky is one thing, but the depth is not nearly as good. O’Connor and Cogliano were fourth liners during the Cup run. They’ve been on the third line all year this season. If the defense could ever get healthy, that would change things, but the core defense hasn’t played a game together in months, so you can’t depend on that.

The rest of the West did get better, but it’s important to remember that the gap between the Avalanche and the next closest team last season was massive. That gap was always going to get a little smaller this year, and it certainly has. None of those teams strike fear in anyone, though. I think that goes for pretty much all the Western Conference. The best teams are in the East, and whatever team comes out of the West just has to hope that the team they face is beat up.

Will we see Sean Behrens on the Avs before the seasons over for a look?

MacFarland was asked this the other day, but I think it’s highly unlikely, at least at the NHL level. It wouldn’t surprise me if he turned pro, but he’d head straight to the Eagles.

What were some other deals the Avs were involved in at the deadline, and why did they fall apart? For example, we heard their name floated with Klingberg, he only went for a 4th, why wouldn’t the Avs have been more aggressive? Were there others?

They were in on O’Reilly, but didn’t have the assets to pull it off. Klingberg was a name floated, but he doesn’t make any sense for this team. He’s terrible defensively, and his only potentially value is offense, which they’ve already got plenty of from the blueline.

They sniffed around a lot of names, but ultimately, I don’t think they had the assets to pull some deals off. No second or third round picks in 2023 or 2024 made it tougher to outbid some teams.

One thing that did hurt them was the injuries to Jonathan Toews and Sean Monahan. Those are two guys they were monitoring all year long at center. When both of them went off the market, the options up the middle really became limited.

What Avs prospects really excite you and why do you think are they too valuable to trade?

I don’t believe the Avalanche have a single prospect that is too valuable to trade. Behrens is a good prospect, but his value comes from the fact that the team has no other defensive prospects. I like Foudy a lot, but he would not be untouchable if the right deal came along. Same with Olausson, although I’m not as high on him. There’s a reason the prospect system is considered the worst in the league.

With a relatively quiet trade deadline, do you see the Avs making a “splash” come free agency? Specifically for a 2c.

If Toews is healthy this summer, I could see them revisiting that in free agency. The problem is that, once again, they’re going to be fairly limited in what they can do because of the salary cap. It’s also not exactly the best free agent class.

A trade seems far more likely. The Avalanche held onto their first round pick at the trade deadline, but there’s nothing stopping them from moving it this summer.

Has Newhook nearly played himself out of the lineup? What does it take for him to get it going again?

I will probably do a deep dive on Newhook here soon, but his production rate is pretty strong this year. His five on five points per 60 rate ranks fifth on the team. He’s still producing, but there are consistency issues. I’d be surprised if he was taken out of the lineup.

The Avs may never be fully healthy this year. Who do you see as the depth players the rest of the way, especially on defense and at goalie?

The depth on defense is concerning. That’s part of the reason why I felt they needed another defenseman at the trade deadline. But seeing Erik Johnson walking around without a boot makes me feel a little better about his potential return. That helps on defense, even if he is getting older.

In net, it’s really tough to say. Kinkaid has experience, but he’s played three NHL games in the last two seasons. Before that, his NHL numbers were not pretty. Justus Annunen needs work and doesn’t appear ready, and they don’t seem all that interested in playing Johansson. With all those options, they may just flip a coin. None inspire confidence, but that’s probably the case with 95% of the NHL when talking about their third goaltender.

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