Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen is listed as week-to-week after suffering a lower body injury, the team announced Wednesday.
It’s not known just how how long the star player will be out, but head coach Jared Bednar is optimistic that we aren’t looking at a four-to-six week scenario. “I should know more early next week,” he said.
Rantanen’s injury took place Monday as the Avalanche faced off against the St. Louis Blues. He was chasing Blues defenceman Colton Parayko when he went down awkwardly and appeared to twist his leg. He skated off the ice on his own and didn’t return to the contest.
The 22-year-old is tied with Nathan MacKinnon for the team lead in points with a dozen. Both have five goals and seven assists in nine games, although MacKinnon has more shots on goal.
The Avalanche are rolling with a 7-1-1 record, putting them atop the Central Division. Their only regulation loss this season so far came Monday against the Blues, a 3-1 decision that saw MacKinnon score the lone Colorado goal.
“He is one of the best players in the NHL. When you lose one of the best players in the NHL its tough,” MacKinnon said. “We’re not going to replace him, but he got hurt last year and we found a way to get some wins. Hopefully we can weather the storm until he gets back. Mikko is a freak, he will be back I’m sure sooner than later and like I said we need guys to step up, including myself.”
The focus turns now to life without Rantanen, at least for a little while. That means different line combinations up top, especially as it’s likely the organization lets the forward take all the time he needs to heal up properly this early in the season.
Colorado could use this as a chance to see how Joonas Donskoi or Andre Burakovsky do up on the top unit with MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. That’s as good an opportunity as any to see if there’s value to dividing up the best line in case the need for versatility pushes the Avalanche to finding new answers.
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