Avalanches’ Valeri Nichushkin to undergo surgery, Bowen Byram week-to-week

Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin will undergo ankle surgery and is expected to miss “approximately” a month, coach Jared Bednar said Tuesday.

Nichushkin has missed four consecutive games with what started as a day-to-day injury during the Avalanche’s New York trip. After scoring against the Rangers on Oct. 25, he didn’t skate at practice the next day in New Jersey. He traveled with the team from New York to Finland, the hope being that he would practice the whole week and rejoin the team against Columbus.

But Bednar deemed him a game-time decision before the first leg of a back-to-back in Tampere, Finland, and Nichushkin ended up not playing either day.

The Avs (6-4-1) host Nashville on Thursday (7 p.m. MT) at Ball Arena.

With Nichushkin hurt, Bednar has tried a few arrangements of the second line, the latest of which yielded the best results. With Alex Newhook playing left wing, Evan Rodrigues at center and Martin Kaut in Nichushkin’s left wing position, the Avalanche dominated the Blue Jackets for a 5-1 win. Kaut had his first career multi-point game. Newhook also scored his second goal of the season, and the red-hot Rodrigues added an assist.

Before his injury, Nichushkin scored a team-leading seven goals in the first seven games of the season.

The Russian’s absence is most impactful on the power play. Colorado started the season 10-for-20 with Nichushkin scoring five of the goals. Without him, the team has only scored on three of its last 14.

Bowen Byram out week-to-week with injury

Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram skated Saturday during line rushes before the second game vs. Columbus. But when the team announced its lineup, the 21-year-old was a last-second scratch.

Bednar said Tuesday that Byram is out week-to-week with a lower body injury.

Fellow defenseman Sam Girard will also time with an injury, Bednar said. Byram and Girard are both offensively adept defenders, so much so that Bednar deploys them on the Avalanche’s second power play unit, which features three defensemen.

 

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