Avalanche Disaster: Top-Line Forward Shut Down, Out Indefinitely

Colorado Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin has been ruled out thorugh the first round

Getty Colorado Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin has been ruled out thorugh the first round

The Colorado Avalanche didn’t have the greatest end to the regular season losing four of their last six games including one against their first-round opponent. Things got even worse for them following Saturday’s news.

Top-line forward Jonathan Drouin will be out with a lower-body injury at least through the first-round series against the Winnipeg Jets, the Avalanche announced on Saturday, April 20. 

Drouin, who has shared top-line duties with Hart Trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon, suffered the injury in the second period of the final regular-season game played by Colorado against the Edmonton Oilers on April 18.

The 29-year-old left the game then and did not return, although no updates on his status were provided immediately after the game nor in the two days following that matchup.

In that same game, Edmonton decided to sit a few starters giving them rest for the postseason starting shortly after. Colorado, meanwhile, decided to try its postseason lineup and paid for it considering the aftermath and Drouin’s injury ruling him out, at the very least, for the first round of the playoffs.

Drouin has played 79 games this season, his first one in Colorado, scoring 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points. He closed the regular season ranked fifth on the team in goals and fifth in assists.

Jonathan Drouin Won’t Play Through the Winnipeg Jets Series

The Avalanche and the Jets are scheduled to kick off their first-round series on Sunday, April 21. The games following that outing are scheduled for April 23, April 26, April 28, and if necessary depending on the series development, for April 30, May 2, and May 4.

That timeline, paired with the Avalanche’s announcement of Drouin’s expected absence for the full first-round series, rules the forward out until the end of April at the earliest, and perhaps into the first week of May.

Colorado wrapped up the regular season with 107 points securing the No. 3 seed in the Central Division of the Western Conference. The Jets finished right above them in the No. 2 seed of the Central with 110 points.

The two teams, however, enter the playoffs riding very different results of late with Colorado boasting a mediocre 4-4-2 record in their last 10 games compared to Winnipeg’s 8-2-0 in the same span, including winning all of their last eight contests.

Avalanche Teammates Will Feel Drouin’s Absence

Immediately after suffering the injury, Drouin went to the bench and into the team’s locker room. The Avalanche took a couple of days to announce Drouin’s expected absence, although removing all doubts about his status and ruling him out for the full first-round series has generated some worries about his future availability.

Teams usually keep detailed information to them and simply list players as doubtful or questionable to play on a day-to-day availability. This, however, is not such a case, which could indicate Drouin has suffered an injury more severe than initially thought.

“Huge blow, it sucks. Super unfortunate. I feel really bad for him,” Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon told reporters after practice on Saturday, April 20, via NHL.com. “Obviously, it [stinks] for the team, but for him as a person it’s just so sad.

“Hopefully we get him back sooner than later, but just more motivation, if we can find a way to win this series, that we get some help coming.”

This year, Drouin has been on the left wing for most of the second half of the season feeding goals to his teammates on a steady basis and his absence will hurt the team’s chances of putting together a deep postseason run.

“We’re missing a top-six forward that can help produce offense,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Really responsible checking player too as well.

“It’s a big loss. It’s a huge loss.”

Drouin is playing for the Avalanche on a one-year contract he signed with the franchise last July after playing for the Montreal Canadiens last season scoring 29 points in 58 games. The Tampa Bay Lightning drafted Drouin with the No. 3 pick of the 2013 NHL draft.

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