The Colorado Avalanche haven’t gotten any scoring out of former third overall draft pick Brad Stuart this season, as the 36 year old defenseman has gone without any goals or assists over a six game sample size this year.
Now, he’ll be out for even longer, as the club announced he’s missing in action for back surgery:
Brad Stuart had back surgery and will be out long term.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 1, 2016
The initial expectation was that Stuart, who has been out of the lineup since November 10th with a back injury (likely related to the surgery he just underwent), would be returning to the active roster fairly soon. The announcement that he’ll miss more time is surprising; the Avalanche confirmed on January 12th that the defenseman was skating with the team, so this is an unexpected complication.
Without Stuart in the lineup, the Avalanche still have a veteran presence in Francois Beauchemin. They lose the possibility of re-gaining a player who had been previously relied upon for heavy minutes in the team’s top four pairings, though. Stuart’s possession impact over the last two seasons has significantly dropped – where the former San Jose Sharks top three pick had once been a highly relied-upon blue liner, he now creates a possession black hole – but it’s still a loss to the team’s blue line corps in an already mediocre season for the Central Division club.