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Avalanche eye early March return for Landeskog

Colorado Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog - The Canadian Press

The Colorado Avalanche are hoping to have captain Gabriel Landeskog back in their lineup near the NHL's March 3 trade deadline, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports.

Landeskog has yet to play this season after undergoing hip surgery in October. The latest update on the forward came earlier this month when head coach Jared Bednar said Landeskog was “nowhere close” to a return.

LeBrun notes, however, that the Avalanche don't intend to keep Landeskog sidelined until the playoffs and therefore will not be using his LTIR cap space at the trade deadline.

"I think the Colorado Avalanche is a team to monitor when it comes to Sean Monahan," LeBrun said Thursday on Insider Trading. "For starters, let’s look at the Avs’ salary cap situation.

"Captain Gabriel Landeskog has not played a game this year and there are people around the league who are starting to wonder, 'Do we have another Kucherov [situation] on our hands?' Where maybe he doesn’t come back until the playoffs and the Avs have way more cap room to play with than we realize.

"The answer is no, as I found out today. The Avalanche expect Landeskog to be playing way before the end of the regular season, they hope by early March. His $7 million cap hit will be on the books, so they don’t have that much cap room to play with. So, when it comes to Ryan O’Reilly or Bo Horvat, yes, I think the Avs are going to keep tabs on those situations. However, they don’t have a lot of future assets. They’ve spent a lot over the past couple of years to get too serious with [those players]. That’s why I think a guy like Monahan makes sense and that’s why it’s a name I know the Avs have talked about."

Landeskog, 30, was given a timeline of 12 weeks for returning in mid-October but has yet to skate with the Avalanche four months later. He had 30 goals and 59 points in 51 games last season and added 11 goals and 22 points in 20 playoff games as the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup.

He is signed at a cap hit of $7 million through the 2028-2029 season.

Sean Monahan on the move?

Monahan, 28, is closing on a return to the Montreal Canadiens lineup after being sidelined since early December with a lower-body injury.

Acquired by the Canadiens in the off-season, Monahan has six goals and 17 points in 25 games this season. He is a pending unrestricted free agent, carrying a cap hit of $6.375 million. 

Monahan was sidelined for the playoffs with the Flames last season after undergoing hip surgery. He last appeared in the postseason with Calgary in the 2020 bubble.

The Avalanche currently sit in the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, tied on points with the Calgary Flames below them, but with two games in hand.