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(Speculation) Colorado Avalanche Eyeing Goalie Market


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Colorado Avalanche Eyeing Goalie Market

September 14th, 2023 at 5:05pm CST • By Brennan McClain


Earlier this afternoon, Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff reported that the Colorado Avalanche will likely be without regular backup goaltender Pavel Francouz to start the year, as the goaltender has not yet fully recovered from an offseason adductor surgery. In one minor comparable to the Gabriel Landeskogsituation, the timeline of Francouz’s recovery is seemingly unclear.


As an internal candidate to take over the backup role in Colorado, young netminder Justus Annunen would be the likeliest candidate. Of all the goaltenders in the Avalanche organization, he is one of only three with NHL playing experience, having played in four games over the last two seasons, posting a 2-1-1 record, carrying a .859 SV% and a 3.92 GAA. His numbers in the AHL have been markedly better but he has not struck much confidence at the top level, even with limited playing time, making it unlikely that Colorado will pick him as their second goalie.


In late June, veteran netminder, Jaroslav Halak, indicated that he is committed to playing for the 2023-24 NHL season, despite still finding himself on the free agent market. With little interest in his services up to this point, this may be the situation that Halak had been waiting for. With approximately $500K in cap space after putting Landeskog on LTIR to start the season, if Francouz also finds himself on LTIR to start the year, the Avalanche would have ample space to bring in Halak as a stopgap.


Lastly, in the trade market, the most obvious trade connection for Colorado comes from the Canadian Northeast. Only a few weeks ago, it became public knowledge that after acquiring goaltender Casey DeSmith from the Pittsburgh Penguins due to their involvement in the Erik Karlsson trade, the Montreal Canadiens have committed to finding a different landing spot for him. Last year, as a backup to Tristan Jarry in Pittsburgh, DeSmith posted a 15-16-4 record in 38 games, with a .905 SV% and a 3.17 GAA. Although the backup goaltender position does not typically carry the highest of expectations, DeSmith would likely improve upon those numbers behind a much more capable Colorado defense.


Nevertheless, even in the case of Francouz’s potential placement on LTIR, the Avalanche are going to be a bit close to the cap to start the year and will have to get creative in this situation. Relying heavily on goaltender Alexandar Georgiev last season, if the backup goaltending situation stagnates in Colorado, Georgiev could potentially see even more than 62 starts as he did last season.



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