The Avalanche starting goaltender, Phillip Grubauer, has already been ruled out for game two of the Stars vs Avalanche series. Grubauer went down on one of the worst non contact injuries I’ve seen in hockey in a long time. The Avalanche haven’t made an announcement on what the injury is but based off the video, I’d guess a pulled or torn groin.
#GoAvsGo Philipp Grubauer is down on the ice pic.twitter.com/nda6hpDxPA — Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) August 23, 2020
Grubauer will be out indefinitely, while defensemen Erik Johnson is not expected to play Monday for game two. In a press conference head coach for the Avalanche Jared Bednar said all options for defense will be considered. This includes young defensemen Conor Timmins, and Bowen Byram. Erik Johnson’s injury likely stemmed from a block shot earlier in the game. He went in and out of the tunnel throughout the game but toughed it out for most of the game. Erik Johnson certified hockey guy.
Here is where #GoAvsGo Erik Johnson went down again. Left down the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/rMNGLhPOR4 — Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) August 23, 2020
Maybe a bone bruise on the ankle, or rolled ankle. Not really sure what’s going on, but he’s doubtful for the next game. One thing the Avalanche have in spades is defensive depth. Timmins and Byram are both young stud defenders. They do have a lack of experience, Timmins having played a grand total of two games at the NHL level and Byram zero. Timmins was drafted 32nd in the 2017 NHL draft and Byram was the 4th selection in the 2019 draft. Regardless of which defensemen replaces Erik Johnson in lineup they’ll be playing in their first NHL playoff game.
That is unless one of the other three defensemen on the Avalanche roster replaces Erik Johnson. Bednar could choose to suit up either Mark Barberio, Kevin Connauton, or Anton Lindholm over the two younger guys. Bednar may choose experience over youth in the playoffs but I’d prefer to watch Byram or Timmins get some playoff experience. It worked out really good for the Avalanche bringing in a rookie for his first playoff game in last years playoffs. Cale Makar broke onto the scene in electric fashion. Who knows, Timmins or Byram could capture that same magic this playoffs.