The Colorado Avalanche announced on Thursday evening that team captain Gabriel Landeskog will not be available for the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs as the team looks to defend its title.
Landeskog has missed the entire 2022-23 season due to a knee injury.
There was always a belief that he would be able to return at some point this season — or at the very least be ready for the start of the playoffs — but the timeline has simply not worked out for him.
Injuries have been a major problem for the Avalanche all year, with Landeskog’s being at the top of the list in terms of significance. Despite the team’s health setbacks, Colorado has still played at a championship level this season and enters play on Thursday having put up a 49-24-7 record.
Even without Landeskog, the Avalanche enter the playoffs as a major Stanley Cup contender in the Western Conference. Colorado won the Stanley Cup a year ago following a dominant regular season and even more dominant playoff run.
Landeskog, 30, has been the Avalanche captain since the start of the 2012-13 season.
His absence will hurt in the playoffs, but with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and one of the league’s best defenses they still have plenty of talent to make another serious run at a championship.
There are no truly dominant teams in the Western Conference this season and it should again be there for the taking.