Good thing Colorado has such a wealth of talent down the middle — it’ll need it.
On Thursday, the Avs announced that valuable third-line center John Mitchell would miss their series opener against Minnesota with a concussion. The injury puts Mitchell on the shelf alongside another top-three center, Matt Duchene, who has been ruled out for at least the first two games of the series with a knee injury.
As mentioned, though, Colorado has good depth down the middle.
Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly will man the No. 1 and 2 spots, while Max Talbot and Brad Malone appear primed to play in the bottom six. Likely Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon also has experience playing the middle, and briefly replaced Duchene there earlier this season.
All that said, losing Mitchell will still hurt.
The 29-year-old had a very good season in Colorado, scoring a career-high 32 points while averaging over 16 minutes per night. He finished third on the team in faceoff winning percentage (50) and was fantastic against Minnesota this season, scoring six points in five games.
Mitchell is also a valuable member of the Avs’ penalty kill, averaging nearly two shorthanded minutes per game.