This article is part of our Blue Line Buzz series.
Is this it for the Colorado Avalanche? A 3-0 loss to Dallas on Sunday extended their losing streak to five games, and even worse, they lost top defenseman Erik Johnson for 6-to-8 weeks with a broken fibula after blocking a shot from Tyler Seguin.
Johnson had been averaging 22 minutes per game for the Avs as their top penalty killer, and in his seventh season with the team, has never lived up to expectations as a first overall pick and franchise defenseman. It's certainly not entirely his fault because the team around him has yet to live up to its potential.
Whether or not this current core of Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Semyon Varlamov, Tyson Barrie and Johnson should remain together is a tough question. Patrick Roy had a big say over personnel until he was replaced, but Joe Sakic remains in charge and a coaching change doesn't seem to have made much of a difference so far.
Most worryingly, without Johnson, one of the league's worst defenses takes a big hit. The Avs are currently 24th in goals against per game at 2.96 and 25th on the penalty kill at 79.1 percent. Even with Roy's departure, their possession stats tell much of the same story: a 24th-ranked Corsi rating and a 24th-ranked save percentage at even strength.