With the season for the Colorado Avalanche complete, it’s time to take a look back at the individual players and how they performed.
Next up? Backup goaltender Pavel Francouz.
Let’s take a look at his numbers from this past season:
Save Percentage: .915
Make no mistake – Pavel Francouz is a very good backup goaltender at the NHL level. Other teams would kill to have a goalie capable of stepping in and winning games if your starting goaltender ever gets hurt. He’s a big reason why the Avalanche went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2022, as he won all the games he had to start in the playoffs.
But this year was a tough one, and that’s really only because of injuries.
When the team acquired Alexandar Georgiev in the summer, the expectation all along was that he would be the starting goaltender, and that’s how it played out. But the hope was that Francouz, under the right circumstances, would be able to start 25-30 games and give Georgiev some nights off. That didn’t happen.
When Francouz was in net, he was good. His numbers back that up. Back in November, he stopped 46 shots against the Carolina Hurricanes, helping the Avalanche pull out a win they probably did not deserve. For the first few months, he did exactly what they expected him to do.
But in December, he injured his lower-body. During that time, Georgiev started every game, and had some struggles. The team quickly dropped in the standings. When Francouz returned in mid-January, he took over the net for a week, picking up six of eight points for the team. He showed his value in that stretch, as that was the exact same time the Avalanche turned their season around.
Francouz started the first game after the All-Star break in February, and played well. Then…he disappeared. A lower-body injury that seemed to have lingered came back, knocking him out for two months. He returned to start one more game on the year, and that was it.
After the season, GM Chris MacFarland announced that the 32 year old Francouz had a procedure completed on his adductor. He’s expected to be ready for the start of next season, but injuries are now a real concern. He missed all of the 2020-21 season due to hip surgery, he missed time in 21-22 due to injury, and obviously missed most of the second half this year. His 16 starts this year were the lowest he’s had since becoming a regular on the team.
Season Grade: C
When Francouz was healthy, he was his usual steady self. He just wasn’t really healthy the second half of the year. Georgiev held down the fort a lot better than expected in his first year as a starter, but having a backup to give him night’s off would have been ideal. I often get asked if he’s a trade option this summer. Anything is possible, but the Avalanche already don’t pay a lot for goaltending. The cap savings would be minimal, and you’d likely be downgrading. Darryl Sutter said the Avalanche have the best goaltending duo in the league, and you’d almost certainly be doing away with that in a trade. Is it more important to have a backup you can trust to stay healthy? I guess that’s up for the team to decide this summer.
Francouz deserves credit, though, because he helped stabilize things in the middle of January when the team (and Georgiev) were floundering. That’s the value of a good backup goaltender…if they’re available.