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Avalanche Hold Firm In Net; Can Georgiev Answer The Bell?



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We’ve been waiting weeks and weeks for the Colorado Avalanche to trade for a goaltender.

Heck, even I was 99% sure they were going to trade for one, even after Justus Annunen posted back-to-back shutouts.

Alas, 1 PM passed on Friday afternoon, and no additional moves were made by the Avalanche.

For the rest of the season, it’s the Alexandar Georgiev and Justus Annunen show, with perhaps a dash of Ivan Prosvetov mixed in. And Chris MacFarland is okay with that.

“Very much so,” MacFarland said when asked on Friday evening if he’s satisfied with what the Avalanche have in net. “It’s something we’ve been assessing from the fall and the winter. Just because you don’t address it now, doesn’t mean you weren’t looking at ways to try and improve things.”

Annunen, a third round pick back in the 2018 NHL Draft, has put together a few really strong starts. Granted, he hasn’t played the best competition, but he can’t be faulted for that.

Colorado knows that it’s a small sample size, but the only way to know if he can handle the job is to let him play.

“We’re happy with what Justus has done,” MacFarland said. “Eight games (don’t) make a career, but a career is made by playing games. We’ve got to make that assessment and he’s going to go one game at a time. But between (Alexandar) Georgiev, him and Ivan (Prosvetov), we feel overall pretty good.”

While backup did seem like a need at the deadline, it’s unlikely to be what makes or breaks the team this season. If all goes according to plan, Annunen will start maybe 4-5 games down the stretch and then never touch the ice in the postseason.

The fate of the Avalanche truly hinges on the play of Georgiev, who has followed up a breakout season with a wildly inconsistent year. At no point during any of this did the Avalanche appear interested in bringing in someone to replace Georgiev. Trading for a new starting goaltender at the deadline rarely works out for teams, because there’s not enough time for them to adjust to the team in front of them.

What Colorado has done is put a heck of a team in front of Georgiev. They’re now four, even five lines deep up front and, at least in the immediate, improved on defense. The pressure is on Georgiev, probably more than any other player on the roster.

There are no more excuses. With a strong team in front of him, the question is simple – can Georgiev get the job done or not?

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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