What is next for the Avalanche?


What is next for the Colorado Avalanche? The big question emerges after we’ve taken time to relax. Many questions await answers to this offseason. I’ll try to cover a few significant topics, but summer is long. There will be much to discuss.

Gabriel Landeskog

Gabriel Landeskog, who underwent knee surgery just over a year ago, now has missed 164 regular season and 18 playoff games. Head coach Jared Bednar said after being eliminated this season that he “was far from playing, but the hope is to get him back next season.” The progress that Landeskog has made in his rehabilitation has been significant. He has gone from being to push off last season to taking part in a drill last week. At the time of surgery, the team established a return date of 12-18 months. So it could be anytime or as late as November 2024 to take contact.

I would think that Landeskog will stay on long-term injured reserve until he receives clearance to play in an NHL level game. This leaves the question of how the Avalanche approach the summer knowing that he could be out a little longer. Do they bring up a forward from the Colorado Eagles to fill in and then send him back? Or do they stay where they are?

Valeri Nichushkin

On May 13, 2024, the NHL announced that Valeri Nichushkin was entering stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Not only did this occur moments before game four against Dallas, but the NHL announced that Valeri Nichushkin would face a six-month suspension without pay. It was his second departure from the team during a playoff run. On January 15,2024, Nichushkin entered the assistance program and was away from the team for 40 days.

Nichushkin has a cap hit of $6.125 million per year. The Avalanche are unsure if they can use that money right now because they do not know if he will apply for reinstatement in November. Unfortunately, the Avalanche have no way to get out of his contract. Colorado would have to either trade him or buy him out. The issue with a trade is that because of the risk of taking him, there wouldn’t be much return. With the buyout, Nichushkin would be on the payroll until the 2035–36 season. This situation, coupled with Landeskog’s return, makes it a very difficult offseason.

Jonathan Drouin

The Avalanche signed Jonathan Drouin last July, and he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Coming off of his best 2018-19 season in the NHL since his year in Tampa, he still searches for the Stanley Cup. Drouin put together 56 points and finished with a 51.8 faceoff percentage, his highest since his rookie season. He cost the Avalanche only $825,000 this season, but proved he is worth a lot more. He told Meghan Angley of DNVR that he would like to return to Denver. However, there might be a price involved. You can expect somewhere around $2-3 million, at the very least.


The work to be done is only the start of the challenges the Avalanche will face this summer. Colorado will have 15 additional players hit free agency this summer. They must decide who stays and who goes. Zach Parise’s retirement has already determined his fate, but deciding on the others will be challenging. I will cover some of these players in later articles, so stay tuned to our site!

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