A month ago, it looked like a sure thing that Colorado Avalanche netminder Jonas Johansson was going to leave North America and play for his hometown team Farjestad BK in the Swedish Hockey League.
“The dream of the NHL will always live on as long as you play, I think,” Johansson said in a translated statement. “But at this stage in life, it feels good to be able to come home and play. A little closer to friends and family and get to experience Swedish hockey again. It will be a lot of fun.”
Not so fast.
It appears that Farjestad BK has cancelled the transaction, and Johansson is still an option to return to the Avalanche.
Farjestad’s sports director, former NHL player Rickard Wallin, said the following:
“Considering that he will probably continue his NHL career, we do not want to take chances, but choose to finish and move on and not wait for the deadline for NHL transfers. We have received strong indications that this will be the case, and this was a scenario we naturally did not count on.”
A lot can change in a month, I guess.
So, do the Avalanche look to bring Johansson back? It was far and away Johansson’s best season in North America. In 26 games with the Eagles, he posted a .920 save percentage, and went 14-9-2. He also won both of his starts in the NHL, including a wild game in Ottawa where he made a ridiculous save with just a few seconds left. Johansson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, so he can sign with any team he wants.
The goaltending depth chart hasn’t changed too much. Justus Annunen is expected to return, but is a restricted free agent and needs a new contract. He played the bulk of the games for the Eagles, and will likely do so again in 2023-24, but Colorado typically likes having a veteran there to help out. They also like having a veteran in the AHL as a call-up option in case of an injury at the NHL level. Unfortunately, that was a frequent occurrence last year, as Pavel Francouz struggled to stay healthy the second half of the season. Deadline pickup Keith Kinkaid is another option, and he’s also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Either way, Colorado now has the option to stick with a similar goaltending depth chart as last year if they can lure Johansson back.
Stay tuned to CHN as more news continues to drop this offseason.