The Colorado Avalanche could regain some of their top-notch skills, as superstar center Nathan MacKinnon has been activated off injured reserve and could return to the lineup on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
MacKinnon has been out of the roster since Dec. 5, when he injured his upper body in a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s missed the last 11 games as a result so far, with the Avalanche going 6-3-2 in that span.
To no one’s surprise, MacKinnon should be on the front row for the Avs if he returns, centering Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen. It’s been the main combination for the Avs’ front row this season as all three are healthy, as they played 241:55 of ice time together at 5-on-5, beating opponents 9-7 with a hand. expected goals of 53.5%.
MacKinnon has produced with the best of them when he was healthy, as he currently has eight goals, 26 assists and 34 points in 23 games. Even with the month on injured reserve, he ranks 45th in league scoring and fifth in points per game among players with at least 20 games.
A former Avalanche first overall pick in 2013, MacKinnon has spent his entire 10-year career in Colorado, winning a Stanley Cup with them last season. He is in the final year of his infamously cheap seven-year contract capped at $6.3m, and is expected to earn $12.6m a year for the next seven years when his extension kicks off next season. which will be the highest ceiling reached in the League.
MacKinnon wasn’t the only important piece on this list that missed a lot of time. Valeri Nichushkin has only played 15 games while struggling with an ankle injury, Bowen Byram and Josh Manson are both currently on injured reserve, and Gabriel Landeskog and Darren Helm are both on injured reserve. long-term injuries since the start of the season.