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Nikolai Kovalenko Nears Return In KHL



colorado avalanche nikolai Kovalenko khl nhl

It’s been nearly a month since Colorado Avalanche prospect Nikolai Kovalenko left the Torpedo lineup.

There’s finally good news though, as it won’t be long now until he’s back playing again.

According to Torpedo Head Coach Igor Larionov, the team anticipates Kovalenko will return to the lineup on November 2 against Kunlun (and Avalanche legend Ryan Merkley). Fans have been clamoring for information on Kovalenko’s return, so Larionov tried to put them at ease.

Why? Because the team has really missed him.

Without Kovalenko, Torpedo has gone 5-5-1. In four of those losses, they were held without a goal.

Prior to Kovalenko’s injury, the team was off to a fantastic start, leading the Western Conference in points. Now, they’ve fallen to fourth place. They’re still on solid footing to make the playoffs, but could use their top forward back in the lineup.

Kovalenko, who turned 24 just over a week ago, has been dealing with an apparent wrist injury. My intel was that he returned to practice earlier this week as he starts gearing up for his return to game action.

Of course, everyone is keeping a close eye on the Russian forward and how his season goes in the KHL, because he’ll be joining the Avalanche as soon as Torpedo’s season ends. There’s still plenty of time for Torpedo to rise up in the standings again, but if they’re in fourth place when the regular season ends, they’ll have a much more difficult path to the championship. The sooner his season ends in the KHL, the sooner he’ll join the Avalanche.

Kovalenko started the season hot with 13 points in his first 11 games. Everything about his start to the season was very encouraging. He was averaging more ice-time per game than last year, was being used more shorthanded, was averaging more hits per game, and maybe most importantly, his shot production had gone up.

Last season, he averaged 2.3 shots per game. To start the year, he was up to 2.8, and one of the games he did not finish. In short, everything is looking up for Kovalenko.

We’ll wait and see what kind of role he has, if any, down the stretch with the Avalanche, but for now, there’s good news on the injury front.

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