Depleted Avs pluck Palushaj off waivers from Montreal

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Desperate for depth up front, Colorado claimed forward Aaron Palushaj off waivers from Montreal on Tuesday.

Palushaj, 23, has spent all of this season with Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton, notching 10 points in 21 games before being sidelined by a shoulder injury.

He’s appeared in 41 career contests for the Habs, scoring one goal and four assists.

The Avalanche have been decimated by injuries to their forwards this season, so the pickup makes sense. Steve Downie is out for the year with a torn ACL, Gabriel Landeskog is sidelined indefinitely with a head injury and winger David Jones missed Monday’s contest against Dallas with a knee issue.

Add in the fact that Colorado’s still without center Ryan O’Reilly — last year’s leading scorer is embroiled in a contract dispute — and the team is essentially without four of its top nine forwards from a year ago.

Palushaj was a big-time scorer collegiate level and a point-a-game guy with Hamilton in 2011-12 (35PTS in 35GP), so he could play on one of Colorado’s top three lines and see some occasional powerplay time.