The biggest splash the Avalanche made at the deadline was the acquisition of versatile forward Vladislav Namestnikov for a solo, 2021 fourth-round pick. Depth was always going to be addressed, the question was though: to what extent? With market prices higher than Cheech, Burnaby Joe had to find value elsewhere. Although Vlad wasn’t the biggest name available, he may be the player needed to fix one of the teams’ biggest needs, in my humble opinion: penalty killing.
The Not-So-Killer PK
Ranked 18th in the league, at 79.8 percent, the Avalanche PK has been problematic for good parts of the season. It hasn’t been all the unit’s fault probably, though. Philipp Grubauer has just a .778 save percentage, on 177 minutes short-handed so far this season, far from good. Pavel Francouz, however, has been perfect so far through 94 short-handed minutes, not one goal conceded. This is not an implication that Grubauer is not as good as Francouz, but more that perhaps he isn’t as locked-in when a man down. If Gru is gonna be our boy (which he will be) down the stretch, getting more help for him on the kill was a must.