Colorado Avalanche could welcome back three key players in coming days
The Athletic’s Peter Baugh reports that head coach Jared Bednar said all of Valeri Nichushkin, Darren Helm and Artturi Lehkonen are getting closer to re-joining the Avs. The first two could even play tomorrow at Ball Arena against the Rangers.
Jared Bednar said it's possible Valeri Nichushkin or Darren Helm could return tomorrow. He added that Artturi Lehkonen is getting closer. He's in concussion protocol.
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) December 8, 2022
Nichushkin was arguably the Avs best player in their Stanley Cup Final series against Tampa Bay, which earned him a big contract this offseason. He got off to a great start this season, tallying 12 points in seven games. But he’s been out since late October after having surgery on his ankle. He also overcame a foot injury in the spring en route to the Cup win last year.
Meanwhile, Helm’s last game came in the Cup series. He was a big contributor for Colorado last spring and scored a series-winning goal. The longtime Red Wing, 36, should make his season debut in the coming days.
Lehkonen’s return may come after the other two. He last played five days ago, getting a concussion due to a really rough hit that some argue was dirty. Lehkonen also signed a big contract this offseason and at nearly a point per game, is on pace for his best NHL season yet.
With Nathan MacKinnon out and four other big-name Avs players still hurt they need all the good injury news they can get as they slug it out just to remain in playoff positioning.