Avs captain Landeskog expected to miss ’23-24

Colorado Avalanche forward and captain Gabriel Landeskog, who missed all of this season after knee surgery, is having another procedure on his right knee and is expected to miss the 2023-24 regular season, the team announced Tuesday.

Landeskog will have a cartilage transplant in his right knee, and the procedure will be performed Wednesday by Dr. Brian Cole at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The 30-year-old Swedish forward missed the entirety of the 2022-23 regular season with a knee injury that led to him having surgery in October. He was initially expected to miss 12 weeks, but ultimately, the timetable for his return was continually pushed back to the point that he was ruled out for the remainder of this year’s playoffs.

Landeskog and the organization hope this more extreme approach allows him to get past the knee injury that has sidelined him. Named Colorado’s captain in 2012 at age 19, he has played 807 regular-season and playoff games for the team and is signed through the 2028-29 season.

Landeskog, who is one of the NHL’s longest-serving captains, has been one of the most pivotal players in the Avalanche’s lineup. He has given them a top-line left winger and has produced nine 20-goal campaigns. He scored a career-high 30 goals and finished with 59 points over 51 games during the 2021-22 season.

He has not played since hoisting the Stanley Cup in Tampa, Florida, in June 2022 after helping the Avalanche win their third title in franchise history. He was instrumental in that run, recording 22 points in 20 games.

During that run to the Cup, Landeskog was second on the team with 11 postseason goals, while his 22 points made him one of four 20-point scorers for the Avs that postseason.

Colorado already knows what it means to go a full season without Landeskog. His injury was one of a few that the Avalanche had to work around while eventually winning the Central Division title this season.

Landeskog was with the team during their first-round playoff series against the Seattle Kraken. He took the ice at morning skate a few times, but his actions were limited. Although the Avalanche managed to win without Landeskog in the regular season, his loss was felt throughout the postseason.

The Kraken upset the Avalanche in seven games with a multi-faceted approach in which depth was one of their core tenants. The Kraken received contributions from all four of their lines along with their three defensive pairings and without Andre Burakovsky, one of their leading scorers who was part of the Avalanche’s Cup-winning team before he signed with the Kraken in free agency last summer.

The Kraken also won the series without 40-goal scorer Jared McCann, who sustained an upper-body injury following a hit from Cale Makar in Game 4 that led to Makar being suspended in Game 5.

Not having the depth to match what the Kraken possessed became an issue. All but one of the Avalanche’s goals in the series were either scored by one of their top-six forwards or by defensemen such as Makar and Devon Toews.

Missing the 2023-24 season means the Avalanche could move Landeskog’s $7 million salary cap hit to long-term injured reserve (LTIR) to create financial flexibility ahead of what could be another hectic offseason.

The Avalanche have eight unrestricted free agents with two of the most prominent being J.T. Compher and Evan Rodrigues. Then there’s the team’s three-player restricted free agent class which is led by their two 2019 first-round picks in Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook.

ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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