Downie suffered a knee injury in Colorado’s first victory of the year on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Avs announced via Twitter on Thursday that Downie will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post later reported that Brad Malone has been called up from the Lake Erie Monsters to take Downie’s spot on the roster.
Downie had registered one point—an assist against the Minnesota Wild in the season opener—through Colorado’s first two games of the season. He also had trouble staying out of the penalty box in Minnesota, part of the reason the Avs lost.
But Downie’s absence weighs more than it would have in a normal season. This is because restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly is still without a new contract and has missed both of Colorado’s games thus far.
Mike Chambers of The Denver Post has the latest on recent negotiations between Colorado and O’Reilly:
The agent for Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly on Monday said the restricted free agent is not asking for a short-term contract at $5 million annually, but Mark Guy declined to specify what has been offered by Colorado or how far apart the sides remain.
With Downie sidelined for the entire year, the urgency to re-sign O’Reilly has definitely increased. O’Reilly led the Avs in points last season and would be a major upgrade to the team’s offense.
But even without Downie or O’Reilly, it was interesting that Colorado decided to bring up Malone.
Malone has played 37 games for the Monsters this season, scoring six goals and tallying eight assists. He wasn’t a part of Colorado’s roster when the team was practicing before the season started. Instead, he remained in Lake Erie.
Michael Sgarbossa, on the other hand, was one of the final cuts in camp and is one of the Monsters’ top players. Sgarbossa has 32 points on the season compared to Malone’s 14.
Malone is three years older than Sgarbossa and played in nine games for the Avs last season, but Sgarbossa is one of the top prospects in the organization.
It would have made more sense to give Sgarbossa a shot over Malone since he’s played much better this season and was good enough to get an invite to camp. The reason for choosing Malone over Sgarbossa hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m sure we’ll get an answer sooner or later.
It’s expected that Chuck Kobasew—who missed the opener due to the flu and was a healthy scratch on Tuesday—will take Downie’s spot on the third line for the near future.
Malone is a candidate to be scratched for Colorado’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.