The Colorado Avalanche are recovering from a tough finish in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avalanche lost their second-round matchup to the Dallas Stars in six games. Moreover, right wing Valeri Nichushkin was suspended for six months in mid-May due to a failed drug test. Yet, General Manager Chris MacFarland provided optimism for Nichushkin's status amid the news.

MacFarland gave a promising response when asked when (or if) Nichushkin would play for the Avalanche again.

“What I can say to you at this time is we've got to look at all options. At this time, priority one is for Val to get all the help that he needs. And you know, assuming he does, after the six months we'll have to read and react on that but it is very plausible that he will be back with the Avalanche,” MacFarland said during Colorado's press conference on Thursday.

Chris MacFarland is foremost concerned with Nichushkin's health and well-being. Yet, it is great to hear that there is a possibility he returns after being cleared.

Valeri Nichushkin's failed drug test violated the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Thus, will he serve his suspension without pay. The news came just as Colorado was trying to battle back from their second-round deficit to the Stars.

Nichushkin amassed 28 goals and 25 assists for 53 points. In addition, the 29-year-old played a serviceable role to Colorado during the first part of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nichushkin appeared in eight postseason games and tallied nine goals and one assist for 10 points.

As Chris MacFarland said, hopefully, Nichushkin will get the help he needs. He is a valued member of the Avalanche.

Avalanche will look to improve during 2024 offseason despite tough series loss to Stars

There was hope that Colorado could advance past the Stars and reach the Western Conference Finals,  and Valerie Nichushkin was dead center in the action. Nichushkin was on the verge of making history after his standout performance in Game 1.

“Valeri Nichushkin (8-1—9 in 6 GP) was pivotal in Colorado’s three-goal comeback win in Game 1 by scoring the first of his team’s three straight goals in regulation,” NHL Public Relations wrote. “His string of success was established at the start of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs and enters Game 2 with the opportunity to join Pat LaFontaine (7 GP in 1992 w/ BUF) as just the second player in NHL history to score in each of his club’s first seven games of a postseason.”

Nichushkin will not be able to maintain his continuity during the offseason, but rest assured Colorado's other contributors will do all they can to keep the team afloat. Avalanche fans can be excited by the impending return of veteran captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Landeskog has not played since he led Colorado to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2022, but he hopes to return for the 2024-25 season. He gave a positive update on the progress of his injured right knee in late May.

“I've felt really good now for two straight months physically, with no setbacks, major or minor,” Landeskog said, via “That's a real positive. Without sharing too much, obviously it's a bumpy road and I knew that coming into it, but I didn't realize how hard it was going to be. Especially when you do hit those bumps, when you do get set back and all of the sudden you're off the ice for a month when you think you’re actually going to be ramping it up.”

With Landeskog and other returners, Colorado has the chance to make a deeper run in 2025.