The Avalanche face huge uncertainty heading into offseason

May 11, 2023, 6:42 AM

Gabriel Landeskog Valeri Nichushkin...

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Was it really less than a year ago the Avalanche were hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup? Was it just 12 months ago that talk immediately turned to a repeat and a burgeoning dynasty?

We know the repeat isn’t happening; the Kraken ended that dream. And as far as that emerging dynasty, it looks like that will need to be placed on hold for the immediate future.

What we do know is the Avs are facing a very murky offseason. They have a lot more on their to-do list than we ever could’ve imagined a year ago at this time.

The hits just kept coming this past week with the announcement Gabriel Landeskog will be undergoing cartiledge replacement surgery and will likely miss all of next season. This is a bummer. Landy is everything you want in a player and a leader; to see the captain’s career placed in jeopardy just plain stinks.

While everyone is saying the right things about being optimistic about Landeskog’s future, it is a bit alarming that the only comparison for this kind of surgery is NBA’er Lonzo Ball, who just had the surgery and will have missed a full two-and-a-half years with a bad knee before he tries his comeback.

Then, you have the Valeri Nichushkin mystery. At this point, who knows what his situation is and what his long-term Avs future holds. That’s about $15 million per year being paid out to two players who are giant question marks.

Not only do the Avs need to replace Landy. Val is an unknown. The front office whiffed badly when it came to replacing Nazem Kadri. The young players tasked with filling that void failed to take advantage of their increased opportunities and responsibilities. The Avs’ farm system isn’t as loaded as it once was and their draft-pick allotment over the next couple of years is absolutely Broncos like.

So Joe Sakic and Chris MacFarland have a lot of work to do this offseason. The first order of business should be a reunion with free agent to be Ryan O’Reilly. I begged the Avs to trade for him back at the deadline. Hopefully, they can right that wrong this summer.

The to-do list is a lot longer than we ever could’ve imagined a year ago in Tampa. The Avs have to make a bunch of high-impact moves to prove they were not just a one-hit wonder.


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The Avalanche face huge uncertainty heading into offseason