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Francouz Talks New Role With Avalanche, Reflects On Career

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Colorado Avalanche fans never really got a chance to say goodbye to Pavel Francouz. His last NHL game came on April 9, 2023, but at that time, no one could have imagined he’d never suit up for the team again. He never got that proper send-off that he certainly deserved.

While he might be done playing, it turns out he never really left the organization.

Francouz was on the ice on Wednesday, helping out the five young goaltenders taking part in Development Camp. Once he knew that his body couldn’t handle the rigors of being a goaltender anymore, Craig Billington, who runs Colorado’s goaltending department, pitched a new role to the Avalanche netminder, who had still not officially retired.

“He told me about what they’re trying to accomplish, trying to get the depth in the goalie position, and he offered me that I can help out with the scouting,” Francouz said said on Wednesday. “This cooperation lasted the whole season. We were preparing the list for the draft, and when this development camp was getting closer, Peter Budaj was leaving the organization, and Craig just offered that I can be around the young goalies, which I was really happy about.”

Francouz mentioned Louka Cloutier, one of Colorado’s 5th round picks from this year, as a goalie he really kept a close eye on.

“I’ve seen tons of video on him, and feel like I know him better than his parents,” he joked. “The basics he has in his game are already really strong, and he has a good pathway going to college, so we think if he keeps developing the way he is, he can be a really good goalie in the future.”

The 34 year old goaltender is one of the nicest people you’ll meet off the ice, and as a member of the media, he was missed last season, so it was nice to speak to him again on Wednesday. Unfortunately, his body started to fail him, which is why he wasn’t able to play the final year of his contract with the Avalanche and has since retired.

It wasn’t just one injury, either.

“I feel like the injuries were kind of creeping on me,” he said. “It was the hips and then the groin. My back was bothering me for a while. I feel like I was kind of falling apart, but the main cause was my knee. It was something I was dealing with (for a) longer time and it just got the point where every time I would do something, it would get swollen or really painful. We knew it was cartilage damage, there’s not much you can do about it. I just realized that this time, I’m going to listen to the body and just do what needs to be done.”

Besides helping the Avalanche goaltending department, Francouz has done some work in television, providing commentary during the World Championships back in his home country of the Czech Republic. He’ll forever have a place in the hearts of Avalanche fans, especially after his 6-0 run during the playoffs back in 2022. As Jared Bednar said last November, they never would have won the Stanley Cup without him.

Francouz looks back on his time with the Avalanche with nothing but positive memories.

“It was the best time, to be honest,” he said. “I feel like my career was kind of like taking small steps. I would never dream about playing with such good players and winning the Stanley Cup, so it was the ultimate dream.”

KHL Experience

Francouz spent three years in the KHL, and that’s really when NHL teams started to put him on their radar. If you look at some of the best goalies in the world, a lot of them are Russian and have spent time in the KHL. That just so happens to be where Colorado’s top pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, Ilya Nabokov, plays.

I asked Francouz why that country (and league) is able to develop so many good goalies.

“They have some good coaches there, for sure,” he said. “I feel like the more goalies they have in the NHL, the starting goalies like Vasilevsky, Varlamov, Sorokin, Shesterkin, it brings the young players. They have good role models, so they want to be a goalie too, and it just is adding up. They have some really good goalies lately and I think it’s going to be an even bigger number in the future.”

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Rick Bennett

Really great to see Frankie along with so many other recently retired players staying in the Avs org. It speaks well of the Avs culture. It’s still hard to believe Helm stuck around after so many years with Detroit. Frankie seems to be the perfect role model for Nabokov.

I thought this line was pretty poignant:

“We knew it was cartilage damage, there’s not much you can do about it.”

In a few more months were likely to know whether or not it’s possible to come back from that.

Ryan white

If it was me I would just use landy cap space to sign players and put landy on LTIR for rest of his career.

I mean they gonna put him on LTIR start of the season and someone said teams can be 10% over the cap in start of offseason.

Ryan white

Well you at least by TDL avs will have 7 million In cap space.

Frankie retiring due to cartilage damage.

Say good bye to landy forever.

On another note, are the avs done signing players or any trades?

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