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How will injuries affect the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup run?

Will the Avalanche be healthy enough to make a convincing Stanley Cup run when the NHL season resumes?

Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche is congratulated by teammate Nathan MacKinnon after scoring during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 6, 2020 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are one of the top contenders for the 2020 Stanley Cup ahead of the NHL’s impending restart. They have the third best odds (+800) to win the title on DraftKings Sportsbook, but the the health of some key players could raise or lower their ceiling. Can Colorado make a convincing push? Let’s take a look at some situations it needs to evaluate.

Nathan MacKinnon will be very important for the Avalanche. The starting center leads his team in points (93), goals (35), and assists (58) and will likely cap over the year with the Hart Trophy. He suffered a lower leg injury in March, but that didn’t appear to be anything serious. He’s already been back on skates after eight weeks at home though, so he should be able to continue carrying Colorado when hockey is back. Nazem Kadri, who also plays centre was expected to miss for four to six weeks with a lower body injury in February and has been saying for a while that he’s ready to make a return an contribute.

The oft-injured Mikko Rantanen broke his collarbone in February and hasn’t played since. He got to skate around some in March without contact, so getting an extra four months to recover should benefit him even more. Andre Burakovsky is another winger to monitor. He suffered a lower body injury in February and was said to be out indefinitely before returning and suffering a setback later on that month. He also skated with the team in March, but there haven’t been any recent updates on his status.

Last but not least, there’s Philipp Grubauer. The goaltender hasn’t played since mid February, and his replacement Pavel Francouz has been playing at a high level while he’s been gone. He could be affected by rust having not played for over four months, but he should be ready to take the ice when his number is called.