The Colorado Avalanche announced Wednesday that Steve Downie will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL. The forward (who was acquired in a trade last season for Kyle Quincey) suffered the injury in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings.
Similar to Downie, Malone plays an aggressive and physical style. He impressed in a nine-game stint with the Avs last season, picking up two assists and being used on the penalty kill.
While Malone takes Downie’s place on the roster, whether he does the same in the lineup remains to be seen. Veteran Chuck Kobasew has been scratched in each of the team’s first two contests, and seems to be the favorite to move into the spot.
It is possible that Patrick Bordeleau may be scratched; as the enforcer has had little (if any) impact in the team’s first two games. Last night he played under three minutes, despite the team being without the services of Downie for most of the contest. Columbus (whom the Avs face tomorrow) boasts one of the NHL’s most prolific fighters in Jared Boll; so Bordeleau’s spot may indeed be secure for the time being.
None of the three aforementioned players however, can match Downie’s offensive production. The injury, coupled with the Avs’ failure to sign restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly, leaves Gabriel Landeskog as the only remember of the team’s top line from last season.
Speaking of O’Reilly, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post infers that Downie’s injury may pressure the team to sign last season’s leading scorer. The two-way forward is currently skating for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, and has been missed (especially on the penalty kill).