Avalanche star center Nathan MacKinnon is expected to miss approximately four weeks with an upper-body injury, the team announced Tuesday.
MacKinnon suffered the injury in the first period of Colorado’s 5-3 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. It was unclear the exact cause — coach Jared Bednar had “no idea” how it occurred when he asked after the game. MacKinnon was evaluated and deemed unable to return at second intermission.
Colorado (13-9-1) is also missing Valeri Nichushkin, Evan Rodrigues, Gabriel Landeskog, Bo Byram, Darren Helm and Kurtis MacDermid, plus rookies Jean-Luc Foudy and Shane Bowers. The lineup is expected to be at its most depleted when the Avs host Boston (20-3-1) on Wednesday night (7 p.m. MT) at Ball Arena.
Colorado plays 14 games in the next four weeks. MacKinnon was at 33 points in 22 games this season before suffering the injury early in the 23rd game. That leaves the question of whether his first 100-point season of his career remains attainable.
If the timeline is to be taken literally, MacKinnon would theoretically return with 33 points through 37 games — a 73-point pace for the full regular season. However, his current pace pre-injury was 1.5 points per game, or 123 points across 82 games. So if MacKinnon returns to that exact 1.5-per-game pace upon his return to the ice — with 45 regular-season games remaining — he would be on track to reach 100.5 points total.
MacKinnon has 99- and 97-point seasons in his career. Colorado’s former No. 1 overall pick signed an eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension in September, which will make him the highest-paid player in the NHL starting next season with an average annual value of $12.6 million.