Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is missing his second straight regular season as he is recovering from a knee cartilage replacement he had last May, and head coach Jared Bednar said he is “not close” to returning with the Stanley Cup Playoffs approaching, according to theScore.

“Nothing's really changed with him,” Jared Bednar said, according to theScore. “His focus and determination to do everything he can to get back to play is still the same as I've seen it before. He's going be dedicated to what he needs to do in order to try and come back into our lineup.”

Last month, Bednar said that he had a potential return date in mind for Gabriel Landeskog, according to theScore. That was sometime in the playoff range, but there was never anything concrete. Landeskog has not played since the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in Game 6 of the 2022 final over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In the 2021-2022 season, the Avalanche were clearly the best team in the league the whole way through. Landeskog was a huge part of that, and his absence has hurt the depth of the lineup over the last two years.

Whether it is during this playoff run, or next season, Landeskog returning to the lineup would do a lot for Colorado and greatly elevate their ceiling as a team.

How has Gabriel Landeskog stayed involved with the Avalanche?

The Avalanche are finishing the regular season on Thursday with a game against the Edmonton Oilers. Landeskog will not be in the lineup then. Still, he has been involved this season, making an impact in the locker room and in meetings as much as he can.

“Landy's been involved. He was in the meeting this morning,” Bednar said, according to theScore. “He's had input in some of those meetings. Obviously, he's not around every day. Out leadership is done by committee because, if you look at our personnel, we've got a lot of really good players that played major roles with us that are highly committed to what we're doing and trying to have success. … They're all vocal and they all lead in different ways.”

At this point in his career, Landeskog might be a candidate for load management, which is something that is not common in the NHL. In the previous three seasons that he did play, Landeskog played in 54, 54 and 51 games for the Avalanche. So it is five seasons in a row that Landeskog has missed significant time.

The procedure Landeskog is obviously significant, and he will likely have to work his way back slowly. Playoff intensity might be a bit too much for now, but only time will tell if Colorado goes on a deep run.

The Avalanche are set to take on the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.