Bowen Byram and Valeri Nichushkin set to return to Colorado Avalanche roster

Winger Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Bowen Byram are ready to return to the Colorado Avalanche roster, according to Avs head coach Jared Bednar.

Both players have missed a good chunk of time this season, with just 30 games played between them. Byram hasn’t played since the Avs’ Global Series in Finland on Nov. 4, while Nichushkin has missed the last two games with an ongoing injury. It’s the third time Nichushkin has been out of the Colorado roster this season, though he’s missed far more time with the first two injuries than this one.

When Nichushkin was healthy, he was red hot for the Avalanche. He currently has eight goals, 10 assists and 18 points in 20 games this season. It’s a good start for the 27-year-old’s new eight-year contract with a cap of $6.125 million, which he signed this summer after playing a big role in their run for the Stanley Cup in 2022.

Byram has missed the majority of the season, playing just 10 games with two goals, three assists and five points on the year. It’s the worst time to have an injury-plagued season for the 21-year-old, as he’s in the final year of his entry-level contract and is set for restricted free agency at the end of the season.

Bednar also provided some updates on other injuries for the Avs. He mentioned that defenseman Josh Manson is set to return, but it’s unclear whether or not he will join the Avalanche for their next three-game trip East. He hasn’t played since Dec. 1 and has two goals, four assists and six points in 21 games this season.

Bednar also gave an update on captain Gabriel Landeskog, saying the winger is still on track to start skating soon. Landeskog has yet to play this season after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason. He had 30 goals, 29 assists and 59 points in 51 games last season, as well as 11 goals, 11 assists and 22 points in 20 games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

Injuries have certainly taken their toll on the Avalanche this season, or at the very least made their journey to the playoffs a bit more difficult. They currently sit fourth in the Central Division with a 27-18-3 record, tied with the Calgary Flames for second wild card, although they have the tiebreaker at the moment.

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