The Colorado Avalanche’s goalie, Pavel Francouz, is truly helping the team win. He’s making good despite being a 29-year-old first-year player.
The Colorado Avalanche went into this season with what I thought was a big question mark in goal tending — Pavel Francouz as the primary backup. Francouz had been a wizard both in the KHL and his native Czech Republic. He also did very well with the Colorado Eagles last season.
However, none of those leagues are the NHL, the best hockey league in the world. What’s more, Francouz would be coming in as a first-year player (at 29, he’s technically too old to be considered a rookie) backing up a goalie, Philipp Grubauer, in his first season as a starter.
The “nobody goalie” remark in the title is a reference to a Philadelphia Flyers fan who tweeted that the Avalanche were starting a nobody goalie against Philly. The Colorado Avalanche social media, ever cutting edge, responded:
Yep, it was pretty good for a nobody goalie — Francouz recorded 32 saves en route to Colorado’s 3-1 win.
What’s more, check out this statistic:
Francouz has backstopped the team to at least one point in the last nine games. He’s 8-0-1 in that time. He’s 10-4-1 all time.
As you can see from the graphic above, that nine-game points streak puts him in some elite company for the entire franchise.
The coaching staff is pleased with Francouz’s progress, calling him “just what you need” and someone who’s giving “above average goaltending.”
Here’s an example of Francouz keeping the Avalanche in the game against Chicago last night:
That’s just what the team needed — for Frankie to say “Relax.” He’s got this.
What’s more, he seems unflappable. This season, he started out as the backup, had to take on a starting role when Grubauer got injured, got injured himself, and has been earning himself some starts.
He also earned himself a penalty in the Chicago game — he got called for interference on Ryan Carpenter.
Francouz said of his net minding experience this year as backup:
"“I have been through sometimes in my career when I didn’t play some stretches and I was trying to learn how to deal with it, so I think it is helping me now when I have this experience. I am just trying to be ready every game. I am having the same routine if I play or if I don’t play, so I am just trying to be in the game every game.”"
He has definitely been ready every game. He has not cost the Avs a game because he always looks so prepared. He had 31 saves against the Hawks, and his teammates were happy to congratulate him:
All his teammates — included the ones who were healthy scratches:
Check out the “Staying Alive” in the background — it’s the Avalanche’s winning song. They’re going to have to come up with one that’s more victorious because they’re doing a lot more than staying alive.
They’re challenging St. Louis for top of the Western Conference. The Blues are still three points ahead of Colorado, but the Avs have two games in hand. And more regulation wins, which is the first tie-breaker this season.
And our nobody goalie, Pavel Francouz, is a part of that success.