Avalanche get big news as Valeri Nichushkin takes important step

Feb 26, 2024, 10:50 AM

Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin is one step closer to re-joining the team.

Nichushkin has been in the Player Assistance Program of the NHL and NHLPA since Jan. 15, but is making progress. The league announced on Monday morning that Nichushkin is cleared to return to practice with the Avs, but not yet for games.

“Nichushkin has been cleared to resume practicing with the team and has entered the follow-up care phase of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Nichushkin has not yet been cleared to return to game action,” the NHL said in the statement. “Nichushkin’s care continues to be administered pursuant to the player assistance program.”

Nichushkin vowed to address his issues “once and for all” when he left the team in the middle of January. He also missed five playoff games against the Kraken last season as the Avalanche lost their first-round series to Seattle in seven games. It marked the end of their Stanley Cup defense from 2022.

Before he sought treatment last month, Nichushkin was having a monster season. He’s posted 42 points by netting 22 goals and adding 20 assists. Even with the games missed thus far, he’s still fourth on the team in points behind Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar.

The Avalanche desperately need Nichushkin back, as they don’t look like the same team without him on the ice. Colorado is just 3-5-2 since the All-Star break and seems to have hit a wall. They’ve struggled on the power play, a spot Nichushkin can make a big impact.

Still, at 35-19-5 the Avs are just three points back of the Dallas Stars for first-place in the Central Division. They also trail the Winnipeg Jets by two points.

The Avalanche return to action on Tuesday night at Ball Arena against the Stars, so it’s obviously a massive game. Valeri Nichushkin likely won’t be out there, but the clock has been started on his return. And that’s big for Colorado’s chances of making a deep playoff run.



Rachel Vigil

What went wrong for the Avalanche against the Jets?

Mike Evans reacts to the shocking loss against the Winnipeg Jets and takes a look at what elements of the team, such as the Avs' goaltending, are to blame for their loss.

7 hours ago

Alexandar Georgiev...

Will Petersen

Alexandar Georgiev has another bad night, Avalanche lose Game 1

Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev gave up four goals on the first 10 shots of the game he faced on Sunday, and things didn't get better

1 day ago

Jonathan Drouin Avalanche Jets...

Will Petersen

Ahead of the Jets series, Avalanche get absolutely brutal news

The team announced that forward Jonathan Drouin will miss the entire Round 1 Avalanche and Jets series with a "lower-body injury"

3 days ago

Pavel Francouz...

Will Petersen

Avs Stanley Cup hero Pavel Francouz officially calls it a career

Pavel Francouz was awesome for the Avalanche in the 2022 playoffs, relieving starter Darcy Kuemper after he suffered a nasty eye injury

4 days ago

Avalanche Jets schedule...

Will Petersen

Here’s the full schedule for the Avalanche and Jets in the first round

When do you need to be locked into your TV or headed downtown to catch the game? Here's the schedule between the Avalanche and Jets

4 days ago

Nathan MacKinnon...

Jake Shapiro

Torrid Nathan MacKinnon makes Avalanche franchise history

For 42 years Peter Stastny skated alone atop the Avs record book but Nathan MacKinnon on Thursday night made history

4 days ago

Avalanche get big news as Valeri Nichushkin takes important step