The Colorado Avalanche have experienced up and down goaltending during the 2019-2020 season. You can’t say the goaltending has been a liability for the team. Every net-minder the Avalanche has placed in net has played well enough. Considering the team has dealt with goaltender injuries multiple times this season the consistent play has been a saving grace.
Injuries has derailed the consistency for the Avalanche’s goaltending situation. Grubauer, the teams supposed number one, has missed multiple stretches of games due to injury. The teams backup goaltender, Pavel Francouz, has also missed a few games due to injury. The backup for the backup when Francouz was injured, Adam Werner, posted a combined shutout. The Avalanche have, for the most part, been blessed with solid goaltending. Being blessed with solid goaltending hasn’t saved the Avalanche from goalie controversy though.
Blessed with solid goaltending isn’t enough. Sometimes a team has to be lucky when it comes to injuries to avoid controversy. Due to the injuries the Avalanche goaltenders have endured the team has been forced to play the backup more and more. That backup has stepped up in a huge way. So much so that controversy is bound to arise soon.
Tied for second in the NHL for wins in the month of February. Third in the NHL for save percentage and fifth in goals allowed average. Absolutely electric stats. Francouz was named the first star of the week for the week of February 17th. The guy picked up 3 wins and an overtime loss, he also recorded his first career shutout. That’s the kind of performance that earns a player a starting role. I’ve been gassing up Francouz for a while now. I think he deserves the starting role.
I loved Franky from the get go. The man plays with an extremely calm nature that oozes confidence. The attitude Francouz exhibits in net is backed up by his phenomenal play. His 19-5-4 record has earned him more wins than Phillip Grubauer on the season in 8 less games played. This is where the controversy comes in.
If it wasn’t already obvious that the Avalanche are in the middle of a goalie controversy the wins earned by each goaltender will make it obvious. Phillip Grubauer, the goaltender the Avalanche road throughout the playoffs last year, has played 36 games and has a record of 18-12-4. While Francouz has played 29 games and has a record of 19-5-3. Less games played and more wins for Francouz.
Francouz has more wins. Simple as that. Play the goaltender that wins you the most games. Crazy concept but letting the puck into the net less than the other team wins you games. It’s a tried and true formula. So the Avalanche not playing the hottest goaltender on the roster would be insane right?
Not entirely. Francouz has been extremely impressive. Earning not one but two stars of the week in the month of February. He was the first star the week of the seventeenth and he was the second star for the week of the 23rd. Yet he doesn’t have any NHL playoff experience. Grubauer is the net-minder with playoff experience. Something that can’t be overlooked when it comes to who a team wants to play in net come playoff time.
To put it simply the only reason any controversy exists in net for the Colorado Avalanche is due to the fact that Francouz hasn’t played an NHL playoff game. I don’t see how that matters when the guy has played the way he has. Play and experience aside the Avalanche have to ride the hot hand down the stretch and into the playoffs.
There’s only a month left to the NHL season. No timetable has been released detailing when Grubauer can return to action. If he can’t return until the playoffs I don’t see how the Avalanche can change goaltenders right before the playoffs. They can’t possibly remove the second best goaltender in hockey (for the month of February) for a guy that hasn’t seen any action for over a month can they? Crazier things have happened but, I’ll be shocked if Francouz isn’t the starting goaltender for the Avalanche come playoff time.