Captain Gabriel Landeskog is back skating, and its a beautiful thing!
While he is obviously taking it easy to start, he has been getting better and more comfortable with each appearance on the ice. There is still no confirmed timeline on his return, but it is encouraging to see Gabe back skating and puck handling.
Cale Makar is also out skating after taking what is reported as his 2nd concussion in 11 days, and he also looks to be putting some good work in. He is skating well, handling the puck, and shooting, which leads to some optimism of him returning soon. The last report on him was that he would miss the games this weekend against the Jets today, and the Flames on Saturday, but Makar looks to be nearing game ready. The worry is that he is brought back too soon, and fear of another concussion is real.
The reports coming out on Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson are not looking good. It is reported that he has a broken ankle, and he may be placed on LTIR soon.
In the unfortunate scenario that both Landy and EJ do not return to the playoffs, with both of them on LTIR, the Avs would have about 13 million in LTIR cap space to play with at the deadline. The exciting part is the possibility to add another big piece or two... but when you look at assets the Avalanche have to part with, the story looks a bit bleaker. When you combine that with the fact that several enticing trade targets have already moved on, (Ryan O'Reilly to the Leafs, Bo Horvat to the Islanders), or are getting hurt (Adam Henrique week-to-week/"out awhile"), or rumored to be going elsewhere (Patrick Kane to NYR), the market is getting more shallow as we move towards the trade deadline.
Pierre Lebrun, noted insider, has mentioned the Avalanche in a several rumors. As we know, Colorado is not an easy organization to get information or leaks out of, so generally, I take Avalanche rumors with a grain of salt. Lebrun mentions Colorado is looking to add a depth defenseman, a top 9 forward, and has mentioned that the Avalanche have had talks on James vanReimsdyk, who Philadelphia is willing to potentially retain salary on.
JVR isnt the 30+ goal scorer he was in the past, but he is an ok player, but he doesn't fill the role of 2nd line center that the Avalanche need. He is a big body, and has always had good hands near the net. With the Avalanche consistently feeding pucks to their defensemen to shoot, or to the half wall for MacKinnon, this might not be a bad pickup, depending on cost.
What do you think the Avalanche should do? Who should they target with their potentially newfound cap space?
The Avalanche meet the Winnipeg Jets tonight at 8 PM ET. Excited for Avs hockey after a long week in this crazy, back to back schedule!
Stay tuned for more!
Notes: Credit to Pierre Lebrun, Evan Rawal for the tweets and coverage.