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Pavel Francouz Returning To Avalanche In New Role

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Avalanche francouz

Although he didn’t officially announce his retirement from hockey until this past April, it was well known that Pavel Francouz had likely played his last game in a Colorado Avalanche uniform back in 2023. That’s still the case, but Francouz is not done with the organization just yet.

After the NHL Draft on Saturday, Avalanche Director of Player Development Brian Willsie spoke to the media, and broke the news to everyone that Peter Budaj is leaving the organization, as he’s been hired by another NHL team. Budaj was the Eagles goaltending coach the last two seasons. Willsie then broke some news that I’m sure will be very popular with Avalanche fans.

“I don’t know if it’s been out yet, but Pavel Francouz is going to help us out a little bit, which is fun for us,” Willsie said. “You guys will see him next week. Peter Budaj was a big asset leading into the draft, and he was really important for our goalies last year in the AHL. Having Pavel this week will be awesome.”

The way it was worded was a little confusing, as it made it seem like it might just be a temporary thing, so I asked an Avalanche spokesman to clarify. They confirmed that Francouz will be helping the organization moving forward, but his new role has yet to be defined. After retiring, Francouz moved back to the Czech Republic to be with family, so I’m not sure it will be a full-time thing, but any help is great help.

When Willsie says “next week,” he’s referring to Development Camp, which takes place between July 3-5. Colorado will need all the help they can get, seeing as how they spent three of their nine draft picks on Saturday on goaltenders. However, one of those goaltenders will not be present next week.

Willsie confirmed that Ilya Nabokov, Colorado’s top pick in the draft, won’t be at Development Camp. Nabokov is currently in Russia, and as his agent told me this morning, he’ll make a decision soon on his future. He has just one year remaining on his KHL contract. Francouz could be especially helpful when it comes to Nabokov because he speaks Russian and played in the KHL for three seasons. If Francouz still plans to spend a lot of his time over in Europe, that might make it easier for him to communicate with Colorado’s second round pick.

The full roster for Development Camp has not been released, but should be sent out by the Avalanche in the next 48 hours.

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