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Avalanche teammates welcome Valeri Nichushkin back “with open arms”

Valeri Nichushkin’s absence from the final five games of last season became a dominant storyline as the Avalanche’s title defense fizzled with a first-round loss to the Seattle Kraken.

There are other key players who won’t be on the ice Thursday when Colorado officially opens training camp to start the 2023-24 season, but Nichushkin is expected to participate. His coach and teammates expressed support at Wednesday’s media day for a player who had been a key component of the club’s Stanley Cup run two years prior.

“(We welcomed him back) with open arms,” Avs center Nathan MacKinnon said.