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Avalanche, Grubauer talks may have just hit a wall



Philipp Grubauer

It may be time for Avalanche fans to start scanning those lists of goalies that may be available on the open market starting Wednesday. Unfortunately, Philipp Grubauer may very well be on such lists.

Listen, things can change quick in this business. There are still about 48 hours before Grubauer can hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. But this much I can report with confidence: things are stuck in the mud between Grubauer and the Avs regarding negotiations on a new contract.

Just a day or two ago, I was picking up signs that there might be some movement in the talks. But that movement, if it happened at all, has stopped. Stopped short – well short I think – of what it would take to get Grubauer’s signature on a new deal.

So, are we having fun yet this summer Avs fans? The odds seemingly are growing stronger that the Avs could lose their No. 1 goaltender – a Vezina Trophy finalist – for nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Let’s take a look at this from Grubauer’s perspective here, for a second: Here’s a guy coming off his best NHL season, who is still only 29 (he’ll turn 30 in November) who is in UFA status as a player. This is likely the last, big-money contract he’ll sign the rest of his career. He went 30-9-1 for the Avs, with a 1.95 goals-against average and .922 saves percentage. He bested St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington in the first round of the playoffs and was tremendous in the first three games of the next round against Vegas. The final three games against Vegas? No, not as good. Not at all. His saves percentages in those final three games: .857, .880 and .773.

But still, it was a tremendous year and he’s taking a look around the league and seeing guys like Binnington sign a six-year, $36 million deal with the Blues before he was even a UFA. He sees guys like Matt Murray ($6.25 million in Ottawa) and Jacob Markstrom ($6 million with Calgary) making much more than him, in that $6 million range.

So, yeah, I think Grubauer is wanting at least $6 million on his next deal, and thinks he’ll get it from someone. (And, forget about a guy like Sergei Bobrovsky, currently making $10 million a year with Florida).

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I don’t know the numbers that have gone back and forth from the Avs and Grubauer’s camp. But it seems more than just circumstantial evidence by now that the Avs aren’t offering $6 million a year on a long-term deal.

I gotta admit, I’m maybe more shocked that Grubauer might walk away for nothing than I am with the possibility of Gabe Landeskog doing that. I mean, last I checked, goaltending is a pretty important position on a hockey team.

The Avs let Semyon Varlamov walk free a couple years ago and he has helped the New York Islanders get to back-to-back conference finals since, taking the Tampa Bay Lightning to a seventh game not too long ago.

Is Joe Sakic being just too stubborn here? Or, is he being prudent, knowing that other teams have regretted giving a boatload of money to goalies recently (Markstrom, Bobrovsky, Murray and even Binnington perhaps) that have all underperformed for their teams since signing big, long-term deals.

As Sakic himself said the other day, time will tell. I don’t believe the talks are dead. Just, not going anywhere at the moment.

Meanwhile, here’s a good story with all the goalies that could be available.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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As you wrote in a recent article AD, it’s a tough business…at the end of the day, the Avs all but certainly could not find a comparable (performance and cost) replacement for Landy…but they already have Frankie in house who is at least that in goal. For this team to improve they need acquisitions, and signing Grubauer will prevent that. Hopefully Joe knows this and is nudging him towards the door. And hopefully Grubauer will find green pastures elsewhere.

Joshua Canfield

I’m definitely getting frustrated hearing this news. Yet, I remember how contentious the Rantanen negotiations were. I’d like to think Sakic would sign both Landy and Grubi at all costs, yet I don’t see him signing them at $7-8m and $6m a year, respectively. (More like, $6-$6.5m for Landeskog and $5m/year for Grubauer).


I’d rather let him walk than sign a 6×6 with him. He played great behind the Avs defensive game and the team was confident playing in front of him. A good match and a good fit. That being said I do believe there are a lot of goalies out there that can do the same. Here’s the risk though; you have Francouz so you probably go out and get just one of them available goalies and you’d have to pick the right one. But there are a lot of good options so I just hope they don’t overpay Grubauer with… Read more »

Arthur Kongus

Here’s the thing.There are a lot of real good goaltenders in the NHL and their play is sooo related to the defensive structure of you team.So in saying that you go out and sign Freddie Anderson for 4 years at 5 mil a year.So yeah I play hardball with Gruber.You can’t compare your value to another teams mistakes like Bennington,Bob,Cary Price,Murray etc…


Definitely wouldn’t call Binnington a mistake, he was one of the best goalies in Nhl over last month in half, and stood on his head in playoff series, he didn’t get any help at all and was facing grade A scoring chances all series and frankly all year. Oh and there’s that Stanley Cup thing he won as well. And he just turned 28 week ago, so he will be 33 at end of contract, that’s still plenty young for a goalie.

Last edited 1 year ago by Eric

It would be great to resign both of them, but if the Avs don’t, They don’t and everyone moves on. Hopefully our Stanley Cup window doesn’t evaporate into thin air. I would prefer keeping Landy over Grub if it is one or the other. I still have that image of the first goal against in my brain from game six against Vegas. That was egregious. Grub hasn’t really proved anything meaningful yet like winning the Stanley Cup, all the other stuff is nice, but They are just stats at the end of the day. That said replacement choices are not… Read more »


Goalie contracts are tough in the salary cap era. There is a lot of risk involved for both parties and it’s hard to hedge against that risk.

Arthur Kongus

Here’s my take on NHL starting goalies.There is Vasa and then everybody else.Without good structure in front of him you can see his skill.The rest are good “technically sound” goaltenders.Thatvsaid Vasa still not worth more than 8 mil a year The rest anywhere from 3 to 6 mil.No more.Just my take.


That’s an extremely reductive way at looking at goalies, most important position on the ice. Did Carey price not just take the CANADIANS to finals?? A team with no business making it past first round? Go ahead and ask Pittsburgh how having a good goalie isn’t important now? Or the Blues and what Binnington did for them in season and cup run, they were two entirely different teams when playing in front of Binnington compared to Jake Allen that year. How about Vegas and what Marc andre fleury did for them, shoot your own franchise here hasn’t won since that… Read more »


I agree with you. Difference-making goalies are few and far between. The Avs were lucky to have lucked into acquiring one in their first year in Denver. Hassek was his contemporary and perhaps even more so a difference-maker in net. At the same time there were frequently discussions comparing those two to Brodeur and noting that he really wasn’t one, but more a solid goalie playing for a well-run franchise that emphasized defense. The correlation between “great” goal-tending and winning teams (which in turn correlates with sound defensive play) is pretty hard to avoid. A solid goalie who makes the… Read more »

Aaron Hinton

Bottom line, Avs fans: there’s no hardware. I would be all about JS breaking the bank to sign these guys but they haven’t won a damn thing and that’s the problem with this whole team right now. Landy, El Capitan…plays a hard-nosed game, says all the right things after a tough loss but has not ever propelled this team past the second round. If he wants to go somewhere else because he “feels disrespected,” then don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. Do you want to win the cup or get paid because at… Read more »

Arthur Kongus

That’s exactly the thing.If you want a boatload of money go sign with Detroit or Arizona.You may not win a cup but you’ll get paid.So for me as a hockey player you have to decide how much challenging for a Stanley Cup year after year is worth.It’s not about disrespect.Its about the balancing act of fielding a serious contender year after year while staying within the cap.


I was never the highest on Grub. He is good and had a great year, sure,but worth a 6×6? No. I’d rather rely on the defense playing another lights out year that can elevate another goalie. Give some to Landy and call it a day.


Avs defense playing lights out? Losing Graves and sticking with mini-Sammy is a great defense? Sieve city. Lose Landeskog and Saad, two very good two way players, and a new goaltender? Watch the Avs get out shot on a nightly basis. Sakic is gambling that other teams won’t offer market value. We’ll see how that works.

Yan Girard

As always, you underestimate the Avs’defensive. When Jonas Johansson played at Buffalo throughout the last season, he wouldn’t stop a beach ball. With Buffalo, 0 wins and 0.884 save percentage in 7 played games. With Avs, 5 wins and .913 in 8 played games. Currently, we can consider that Jonas Johansson is a goalie #2 that is very average in NHL. I doubt that Grubauer wants really to win Stanley Cup. He profited of a good team to regain prestige and to break the bank thereafter. He is probably a average goalie #1 in NHL. The Avs’defensive really helped the… Read more »

Bob Neal

Sounds like a mess. The team goes no further than the excellence of the goalie. This is what happens when you spend $20 million on two guys.

Yan Girard

Grubauer was not up to the task in playoffs. That’s the problem. You cann’t overpaid a goalie that crumbles in playoffs.


How’d the Avalanche end up with a roster where every player wants $9 million a year? Maybe this is why that head scout dude is gone?

Richard Trujillo

The problem is what they paid Rantanen. In my mind there are two guys who should be making big money on the Avs. Mackinnon and Makar. Rantanen is simply not a guy who can carry the team like MacKinnon.

I would still love to see someone give a statistical breakdown of Rantanen at evem strength when he is not on the ice at the same time as Mackinnon.

Yan Girard

No player should not be more important than the team. If I have the choice between Landeskog, Grubauer and the Stantey Cup, I chose without hesitation the Stanley Cup.

[…] the Colorado Avalanche and goalie Philopp Grubauer have hit a wall. If Grubauer goes on the open market and leaves Colorado, who becomes the Avs’ goalie? Could […]

[…] — Colorado’s talks with free agent goalie Philip Grubauer are not going all that well.(CHN)  […]


I wonder how Grubauer feels about his value now that Fleury’s been traded for peanuts?

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