MacFarland: Avalanche 'hoping' Landeskog can return for playoffs
The Colorado Avalanche have already ruled out captain Gabriel Landeskog for a second straight regular season due to a knee cartilage transplant but are keeping their fingers crossed that he'll return for the 2024 postseason.
"We're hoping," Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland recently said when asked about Landeskog possibly returning for the playoffs, per The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "There's still so much that needs to be gleaned in this, so it's hard to put a timeline on it."
However, MacFarland added that Landeskog's recovery is on the right track.
"He's about four months (into his recovery), and he's doing incredibly well," he said. "We miss so much about what he brings, not just in terms of the goals and assists and power play and penalty kill, but just his presence in the room, being one of our emotional-barometer guys.
"He's going to miss the regular season, and then I wouldn't bet against Gabriel Landeskog in anything. If there's somebody that's going to deal with what he's dealing with, with the right attitude and determination, it's him. He's our Viking."
Landeskog, who turns 31 in November, underwent three knee surgeries in a 15-month span. It remains to be seen how he'll perform coming off back-to-back missed seasons, but he was an impact player the last time fans saw him on the ice.
One of the game's premier power forwards, Landeskog recorded 30 goals and 29 assists in 51 games during the 2021-22 regular season before adding 22 points in 20 playoff contests to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. He hasn't played a game since.
Landeskog first had knee surgery in March 2022. He missed the final 23 games of the regular season but returned for Game 1 of the playoffs. Landeskog had another knee surgery in October 2022 that was expected to sideline him for only 12 weeks, but he ended up getting shut down and missing the entire season and playoffs. His latest procedure occurred in May.
The Swede is entering the third season of an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $7 million. His contract won't count against Colorado's cap during the regular season while he's on long-term injured reserve. With no salary cap in the playoffs, the Avalanche can activate Landeskog to the postseason roster without any cap ramifications if he's ready to go.