CENTENNIAL, Colo.--On Thursday, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar confirmed defenseman Anton Lindholm will return to the Avs lineup when the club hosts the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
The rookie rear guard has missed the Avalanche's last five games with an upper-body injury after getting hurt in Colorado's contest against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 18.
"Lindholm is back tomorrow… He gets another day on the ice today, and yesterday again," Bednar said. "He is good to be activated. He will be activated tomorrow and then he'll play."
Colorado is preparing to face a tough opponent in division-rival Minnesota, which has won five games in a row and currently holds the third seed in the Central Division.
"Every game we play here until the end of the year is going to be the biggest game of the year, that's just the nature of where we are at in the standings and how tight our group is," said Bednar. "But, certainly the Wild, I have been watching some of their games here lately, they are playing well. They are firing on all cylinders, it's going to be a tough test for us."
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar after the optional practice
Lindholm will most likely be paired with Duncan Siemens, who had been skating with David Warsofsky for the past five games. Prior to the Avs' optional practice at Family Sports Center, Colorado reassigned Warsofsky to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Two goaltenders, six defensemen and nine forwards took the ice for the session.
Blueliner Erik Johnson (upper body) took the ice in a red, non-contact jersey and skated prior to the voluntary drills, but there is still not an estimate as to when he will be able to return.
In addition, netminder Jonathan Bernier (head) returned to his normal practice net and saw some shots while forwards Sven Andrighetto (lower body) and Vladislav Kamenev (arm) took part in the practice as no-contact participants.
"It's just where [Johnson] is at in his rehab. He can skate; he has got an upper-body injury," said head coach Jared Bednar. "They are all making progress for certain. We don't have any other timetables on any of those guys really at this point. It's just, keep evaluating them day to day, too long to speculate still I think. But that's the first day Berns has taken pucks, so that's encouraging to start."
Bernier has been out of the lineup since he suffered a head injury at the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 16.
Kamenev has been out since he suffered an injury in his first game with the Avalanche on Nov. 16 versus the Washington Capitals.
"He's been cleared to play non-contact," said Bednar. "He is going to get looked at again some point next week, and they are getting closer on a timetable for him but it's still too far out."
When he is able to play, Kamenev will stay with the Avalanche as opposed to playing in San Antonio.