Colorado State Radio



Colorado State Radio


Upcoming Events
Follow Us on Twitter

Avalanche Offseason Notes: Missing Out on the Goaltender Carousel?


By: Eric Lyons

It is late October and Fort Collins is covered in 18 inches of fresh snow, in any normal year, it would be a perfect time to hunker down and watch as many early season NHL games as possible. As this is 2020 where everything is made up and time doesn’t matter, we instead find ourselves in the midst of the NHL offseason.

While the Avalanche have made solid acquisitions in the trade market, adding Brandon Saad and Devon Toews for relatively little (sorry Nikita Zadorov), one big question remains: Will the Avs regret not making a move between the pipes?

Based on regular season numbers the Avalanche received above average goaltending with starter Phillipp Grubauer and backup Pavel Francouz ranking 18th and 5th in SV% respectively. In the playoffs however, both suffered injuries forcing the team to turn to journeyman Michael Hutchinson.

This marks two consecutive seasons where unreliable goaltending played a key factor in second-round heartbreak. Given Grubauer’s injury history and Francouz’s small body of work, many expected the Avalanche to be major players in the goalie market this offseason, yet the team has stood pat as many goalies (including several cup winners) have found new teams.

Some notables include:

Matt Murray, OTT: 4 year / $6.25 million AAV
Braden Holtby, VAN: 2 year / $4.3 million AAV
Corey Crawford, NJD: 2 year / $3.9 million AAV
Henrik Lundqvist, WSH: 1 year / $1.5 million AAV
Jacob Markstrom, CGY: 6 year / $6 million AAV

The goaltending position is a tricky one to value, and spending big money does not usually pay dividends (ask Florida how they feel about Bobrovsky’s deal now), however, Sakic has missed out on a chance to address a major need.

Grubauer and Francouz while solid in the regular season have yet to prove their worth in the playoffs. With the Avalanche poised to be one of the favorites to win the cup in 2021, signing a proven winner like Holtby or Crawford to a cheap, short-term deal would have done a lot to solidify the position. 

With a congested schedule likely for the upcoming season teams will rely more than ever on having reliable goaltending depth. The Avalanche will have to hope that the oft injured and unproven duo of Grubauer and Francouz can get the job done. It’s a risky bet, and one that could come back to haunt the team in 2021.