Roy: MacKinnon (hip) could have played Tuesday, will Thursday

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If Tuesday’s match against the Dallas Stars was a regular season game, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy thinks Nathan MacKinnon would have been available. Instead, he sat out the contest as expected due to a hip flexor injury.

That said, for those that were afraid that MacKinnon might have been held out for something other than precautionary reasons, it will be a relief to hear that he’s projected to be back in the lineup on Thursday.

“We just want to make sure that no chances were taken in a situation like this,” Roy told Altitude Sports. He added that MacKinnon has been skating.

The 18-year-old forward was taken with the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, so it’s no surprise that the Avalanche want to err heavily on the side of caution. He’ll naturally receive a lot of attention this season, but Roy might limit his playing time in an attempt to ease him into the league and take some of the pressure off him.