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Avalanche forward Logan O’Connor to have season-ending hip surgery

Logan O’Connor’s season is done for the Colorado Avalanche.

The veteran forward is set to have season-ending hip surgery, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Sunday.

O’Connor was in the middle of a career year for the Avs, but this has been a lingering injury. He missed two games in November, which a team spokesman confirmed was related to the hip issue. Then O’Connor missed four games last month, before returning to play six times and then shutting it down again.

There’s no timeline on a return until after the surgery is complete, but Bednar ruled him out for the rest of the regular-season and the playoffs and noted there was a decline in his play since the All-Star break.

“Well, it sucks because he’s been a real good contributor to our team for a long time,” Bednar said. “He’s really dialed in with what he has to do.”

O’Connor finishes the year with a career-high 13 goals in 57 games. He was on pace to easily surpass his best point total as well. He’s been a fixture on the Avs’ second-best line this season, along with Ross Colton and Miles Wood, but Bednar broke that group up recently and cited a decline in performance.

The Avs added three forwards in the days leading up to the trade deadline — No. 2 center Casey Mittelstadt, along with depth forwards Yakov Trenin and Brandon Duhaime. Bednar acknowledged that O’Connor’s deteriorating health played into the club’s aggressive moves this past week.

“We had an idea that it wasn’t going well for him,” Bednar said. “I would say yeah. Adding depth is important regardless, but especially when you’re dealing with potentially getting bad news on a guy that’s played for us all year long.”

Trenin played with Colton and Wood in the first game after the trades Friday night against the Minnesota Wild. The top-six forwards, assuming good health, look relatively set for the Avs: Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin, Artturi Lehkonen, Jonathan Drouin and Mittelstadt will fill out the top two lines in some fashion.

The extra bodies gave Bednar more options for the bottom two lines, but now O’Connor’s injury adds a new wrinkle. He’s been arguably the club’s most effective depth player this season. Trenin, Duhaime, Zach Parise and maybe eventually Nikolai Kolavenko could fill O’Connor’s role.

Lehkonen, Colton and defenseman Jack Johnson all missed practice Sunday because they were ill, but Bednar expects them to join the team on the road trip and be available to play Tuesday in Calgary. Chris Wagner (upper body) practiced Sunday and could return to the lineup against the Flames.

Parise remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Another player who could still help the Avs at some point is captain Gabriel Landeskog, though Bednar made it clear that won’t be anytime soon.

Landeskog had knee surgery May 10, and earlier this season general manager Chris MacFarland said the recovery timeline was 12 to 16 months.

“He’s not going to come back too early. It’s just not going to happen,” Bednar said. “He has a timeline that says, ‘You’re not coming back before this date. Doesn’t matter how good you feel,’ and we’re sticking to that. It’s his career. So we’re not going to play with that regardless of where we’re at in a playoff series. So that’s No. 1.

“He will not come back before that date, and then he’s got to get himself to the point, hopefully, that he can come back. We don’t have clarity on that.”

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