The Colorado Avalanche suddenly lack a true power forward. Gabriel Landeskog, the team’s captain and the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year last season, is out indefinitely with head and leg injuries. It seems that the injuries were sustained in the Avalanche’s loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, when Landeskog took a high hit from the Sharks Brad Stuart that was not disciplined by the league. Landeskog returned to the game after not exhibiting concussion symptoms and was expected to play tonight for the Avs as they take on the Edmonton Oilers.
Landeskog is one of the few true power forwards in the league and his presence on a line that features the quick footed Matt Duchene added an element to the Avalanche most teams do not possess. However, his absence will immediately be noticeable as Colorado lacks a player of Landeskog’s physique and skills.
The loss of Landeskog is the biggest blow so far in the Avalanche’s short season. Four games into the 2013 campaign, Landeskog is the second forward the Avalanche have lost, joining Steve Downie who is out for the season with a knee injury. The Avalanche are still in a contract dispute with forward Ryan O’Reilly.
What is so concerning for the Avs is the sudden rush of symptoms to Landeskog, who appeared to be okay after the Shark’s game on Saturday. The team’s improvements last year were a direct result of the Swede’s skill. He had just one point so far this year, a goal in the team’s home opener, but managed 52 points in his rookie season.
The Avalanche have not announced any roster moves due to Landeskog’s injury, which means they expect he could return in the next few games. Likely Milan Hejduk or Chuck Kobasew will take Landeskog’s place on the top line, with Brad Malone playing his first game of the season tonight against Edmonton unless the Avalanche choose to play eight forwards.