The injury-plagued Avalanche will be without another key player on a “week-to-week” basis, coach Jared Bednar said Saturday morning, because defenseman Nikita Zadorov sustained a broken jaw Thursday and required surgery Friday.
“Everything went well, so we’ll just see how things go the next couple days and then we’ll try to get him back on the ice,” Bednar said of Zadorov, who will practice with the team in a non-contact sweater while his jaw heals.
Zadorov joins forwards Mikko Rantanen (left leg), Gabe Landeskog (lower-body), Colin Wilson (lower-body) and goalie Philipp Grubauer (lower-body) on the injured list. Bednar said those forwards have not been cleared to skate in their recovery but Grubauer is closer to a return and will join the team on the upcoming five-game road trip that begins in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Rantanen and Landeskog are top-line forwards who normally serve as Nathan MacKinnon’s wingers. Each member of the line was selected for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game last January.
“They get evaluated daily. They’re ramping up some of their workouts, just trying to get closer to getting back on the ice,” Bednar said of Rantanen and Landeskog.
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The Avs are coming off a 9-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday, scoring more goals in one game than they did in the entire five-game losing streak they brought into the game.
“I said it when all those guys got hurt — I like our depth — and if we play the right way we can win hockey games with and without those guys. Last game I think we proved it. It started with our work ethic, which was really good, and structure and our commitment to our structure, especially on the offensive side of things,” Bednar said.
MacKinnon is nursing an upper-body injury and skipped Saturday’s morning skate at the Pepsi Center. But he is scheduled to play against the Blue Jackets.
“Give him a little rest before tonight,” Bednar said of MacKinnon.