J.T. Compher will miss this week with an upper-body injury and will be reevaluated after the Colorado Avalanche's upcoming bye week.
Avs head coach Jared Bednar revealed this morning that Compher will miss the final four games of the team's season-long homestand, beginning tonight against the New York Islanders. Colorado closes its home stay on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild before going on its league-mandated time off.
The earliest it appears that Compher could return to action is the team's first contest back from the break on Jan. 13 at the Dallas Stars.
"He's going to be out for the whole week, and then we go into the bye week so we'll know more," Bednar said of Compher. "It's not day-to-day, but it shouldn't be long term either."
Bednar said that Compher got hurt Friday night in the third period of the Avalanche's 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a game in which the Avs rookie went on to score the winning goal in the extra session.
"He was in some discomfort, kind of started getting worse," Bednar said. "Tough guy, finished the game and ends up getting us the OT winner. The next morning he was sore, so we got him looked at. He'll be out this week."
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar before facing the Islanders
The Avalanche had finally seemed to have a full roster of healthy players for the first time this season, that was until this past week. The club has now lost two key contributors in a matter of days with defenseman Tyson Barrie also out four-to-six weeks with a broken hand that he suffered in the Dec. 23 contest at the Arizona Coyotes.
Compher had been relied upon significantly in his first full season in the NHL, playing in key situations and being trusted by the coaching staff to center a top-six group.
He had seven goals and six assists in 31 games and was seeing 17:04 of ice time per game, third most among Avalanche forwards. At the faceoff dot, Compher's 49.5-winning percentage is the highest on the team for players that have taken at least 150 draws.
Colorado won't make any major changes to its lineup for this evening's contest against the Islanders with Compher now out. Nail Yakupov will take Compher's spot on a line with Sven Andrighetto and Alexander Kerfoot, who is now the center of the trio. Yakupov was a healthy scratch for Friday's contest.
On defense, Andrei Mironov will play in his first game since being recalled from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Mironov's last contest with the Avs was Nov. 25 against the Calgary Flames.
Mironov spent the previous five weeks in the AHL to help get him more playing time and continue his adjustment to the North American style of game. This is the Moscow, Russia, native's first season in the NHL after playing his entire career in his homeland.
Bednar said the reports on Mironov's recent stint with the Rampage are "good," as the defenseman went on to compile a goal, three assists, 16 penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating in 11 contests.
"We sent him down the one time, he came back up and I thought he was better when he came back than when he left," Bednar said of Mironov's first AHL stretch in October. "He was sitting around for a little while (with the Avs), so we got him down there. Now he's played a bunch of games down there. I think it's going to help him play in the smaller rink. His communication is getting better on the ice. The reports say that he's moving the puck real well, and he's kind of finding his physical game here a little bit too. We're anxious to see him tonight."
Mironov has three points (goal and two assists) in nine NHL games this season and will replace Anton Lindholm on the backend.
Jonathan Bernier will get the start in net for Colorado. It will be his first game since Dec. 16 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
AVS ENTER THE NEW YEAR
Playing at home on New Year's Eve has become a tradition of sorts for the Avalanche, as the club will host a game on Dec. 31 for the fifth straight season.
The last day of the calendar year always seems to be a time for reflection and a look to the future for players and fans alike. And while the start of 2017 saw the team finish in last place in the Western Conference standings when last season ended in April, the new campaign has been much more positive.
The Avalanche is 18-16-3 through 38 contests and is in the playoff hunt, just four points out of a spot.
"We're starting to grow together as a group, and we're getting more consistent at what we do," Bednar said. "That's the goal I think for us: bringing that consistency in our team game every night. When we do that, we tend to have some success. We just have to make sure that there are no lapses in our game, but we like the way we're trending. Now it's time to continue because games get tougher and tougher here as you enter this time of the year."
That positive consistency has helped translate into points for Colorado, as the team has gone 6-3-1 in its last 10 and has a chance to continue bettering its position in the standings over the ensuing weeks. The Avs are in a stretch of playing 12 of 15 at Pepsi Center, where they have posted a solid 11-7-1 record.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Sven Andrighetto - Alexander Kerfoot - Nail Yakupov
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque - Tyson Jost - Colin Wilson
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Patrik Nemeth - Mark Barberio
Samuel Girard - Andrei Mironov