The injuries have been frequent and significant for the Colorado Avalanche, so general manager Joe Sakic hit the waiver wire to help fill some holes.
Colorado claimed winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel from Philadelphia and he will be thrown right into the lineup Wednesday night in Vancouver against the Canucks. Aube-Kubel was claimed Saturday, arrived in Denver on Monday, and began practicing on a line with Tyson Jost and Alex Newhook.
Aube-Kubel, a second-round draft pick by the Flyers in 2014, played 102 games for Philadelphia, including seven this season. He is a right-shooting forward and fills an immediate need with the announcement that J.T. Compher will miss four weeks with an upper-body injury sustained Saturday night against San Jose.
In addition, Nathan MacKinnon continues to sit with a lower-body injury and Bo Byram is still in concussion protocol.
Logan O’Connor practiced on the top line Monday with Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, with Rantanen playing center.
Aube-Kubel has embraced his new teammates, some of whom he already knows.
“I was really happy to get a call from Joe Sakic, telling me I’d be an Avalanche from now on. It was really cool,” Aube-Kubel said after his first practice. “I played against Sam Girard and really liked his play in junior and saw Nate, Cale (Makar) and Gabe at BioSteel camp (last summer), had a quick intro.”
Byram hasn’t played since Thursday when he took an elbow to the head from Vancouver’s Bo Horvat. Colorado won that game in Denver, 7-1, and then beat the Sharks 6-2 in an offensive eruption despite missing key players.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are in somewhat of a spiral. After reaching the second round of the playoffs in 2020, they didn’t qualify last season. Now Vancouver is off to a poor start through 16 games and is coming off a winless three-game road trip in which it was outscored 19-6.
“There is some frustration,” Horvat said. “But at the same time, we’ve played a lot of good hockey this year. (Coach) Travis (Green) is putting systems in place and doing everything that he needs to do, it’s just a matter of us going out and doing it.”
Defenseman Tucker Poolman will return after serving a two-game suspension for his swinging high stick on Colorado’s Kiefer Sherwood last week. Vancouver also recalled defenseman Travis Hamonic from Abbotsford of the AHL and he is expected to play Wednesday.
The Canucks have lost four straight overall and the slow start could have consequences. It was reported that owner Francesco Aquilini was going to meet with general manager Jim Benning ahead of the start of a three-game homestand.
Despite the injuries, Colorado is 4-1-1 in its last six games. The Avalanche have played just three games in 11 days but now the schedule gets heavy, with six games in the next 11.
The club hopes MacKinnon will be able to return before the end of the month and Compher soon after, but until then the team has to compensate for those injuries.
“Guys go down, other guys need to step up and fill the role,” Nazem Kadri said. “Life goes on. It’s not like you can stop playing if you’ve got an injured team.”
–Field Level Media