Colorado Avalanche: 3 UFA Goalies for Philipp Grubauer’s Backup

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 06: Calvin Pickard #30 of the Arizona Coyotes gets ready to make a save against the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena on April 6, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 06: Calvin Pickard #30 of the Arizona Coyotes gets ready to make a save against the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena on April 6, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche may be looking for an NHL-caliber goalie to back up Philipp Grubauer in free agency. Here are three options.

The Colorado Avalanche may seem to be set at the goalie position. Philipp Grubauer emerged as the team’s number-one goalie at the end of the season and proved it through two rounds of the playoffs.

Right now, Pavel Francouz is tearing it up at IIHF Worlds. He’s backstopped two games for the Czech National team, and recorded shutouts in both. In 49 games with the Colorado Eagles, he recorded a 2.68 GAA and .918 save percentage, which was good enough for a 27-17-3 record. Not too shabby.

He’s a pending unrestricted free agent, but the team is reportedly already talking to his agent.

Additionally, the Avalanche recently signed their 2016 draft, goalie Adam Werner. They have other prospects (Petr Kvaca, Justus Annunen, Shamil Shmakov), as well as pending restricted free agent Spencer Martin.

However, in all of that, there’s not a single goalie with significant NHL experience. I know the idea is to throw Francouz in as Grubauer’s backup but… that could go sideways pretty quickly.

I think the Colorado Avalanche might sign a free agent this summer as a temporary backup for Grubauer. This goalie will earn just a one-year contract and he’ll have to fight Francouz for the job in training camp and the preseason.

Not exactly a glamorous proposition. However, below are three goalies the Avs might be considering for that role.

Anthony Stolarz

Age: 25
Current Team: Edmonton Oilers
Current Contract: 1 year standard, $725,000
2018-19 Stats: 18 games played, 12 started; 4-5-3 record
All-Time Stats: 25 games played, 16 started; 6-6-4

Anthony Stolarz started his career with the Philadelphia Flyers. In mid-February of this year, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for fellow goalie Cam Talbot.

Looking at the 6-foot-6, 210 pound (yikes!) Stolarz’s stats, he’s obviously not a very seasoned goalie, though he does have more NHL experience than potential backups Werner, Francouz, and Martin combined.

Anthony Stolarz is exactly the kind of player who should expect to come to training camp to fight for a job and win it only if front-runner Pavel Francouz doesn’t display NHL chops. Plus, I doubt he’d earn more than the $725,000 from last season.

Michael Hutchinson

Age: 29
Current Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Current Contract: 1 year standard, $1.3 million
2018-19 Stats: 9 games played, 8 started; 3-4-2 record
All-Time Stats: 111 games played, 95 started; 46-43-13

Michael Hutchinson started his career with the Winnipeg Jets. He signed with the Florida Panthers in free agency last season. He played just four games for the Panthers before getting traded to Toronto.

Obviously, the 29-year-old Hutchinson has more NHL experience than even Stolarz. He didn’t play a lot at the NHL level last season, but overall he’s had decent enough stats for a backup.

Michael Hutchinson is another version of the kind of player you’d expect to see fighting for an NHL position in training camp. I’d prefer to see him sign for a slight discount over what he made last season, but $1.3 million wouldn’t be onerous for the Colorado Avalanche.

Calvin Pickard

Age: 27
Current Team: Arizona Coyotes
Current Contract: 1 year standard, $800,000
2018-19 Stats: 17 games played, 12 started; 4-6-2 record
All-Time Stats: 104 games played, 87 started; 32-50-9

More from Mile High Sticking

Calvin Pickard got a raw deal from the Vegas Golden Knights. Their treatment of him — selecting him in the Expansion Draft then waiving him at the beginning of the season — is a reason I will always dislike that organization.

In any case, as you know, Pickard began his career with the Colorado Avalanche, being drafted in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. His Avalanche days, when he was Semyon Varlamov’s backup were the best of his career.

When you look at his NHL stats, you might not like the look of his record. But know this — most of that bad record comes from his 2016-17 season with Colorado. I know you’d like to block it from your mind, but that was the 48-point debacle, and no one is pinning it on Pickard.

In any case, of the three goalies on this list, I trust Picks the most as a goalie to fight for the backup position to Philipp Grubauer.

Next. Saying Goodbye to Varly. dark

I left big names off this list for a reason — a player like Sergei Bobrovsky isn’t going to accept a backup position for backup pay, so why even talk about him. And I don’t think the Colorado Avalanche are looking to throw money at a big name like that when we already have Grubauer.

Do you think to the Colorado Avalanche will sign a potential backup goalie in free agency? If so, who?