Colorado Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz has had such a strong week that the NHL has named him First Star of the Week.
Colorado Avalanche “nobody” goalie Pavel Francouz has earned First Star of the Week honors from the NHL. In this week, he recorded a 3-0-1 record that included a shutout, 1.46 goals against average and .941 save percentage.
The “nobody” is a reference to opponent fans chirping the Avalanche for having a first-year player backup who’s 29 years old and undrafted. (He’s too old to be called a rookie.) Colorado signed him as a free agent before last season, and he spent the whole year with the Colorado Eagles. He did play two games with the Avs, recording a .97 GAA and .943 SV%.
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This season Colorado named him the primary backup to goalie Philipp Grubauer. Francouz saw sparing work early in the season, as you’d expect for a backup, but injuries to Grubauer have given him a chance to shine.
This season, Francouz has played 26 of the 61 games so far. He has a .927 SV% and 2.27 GAA. His record is 16-5-3.
Grubauer got injured early in the third period of the Stadium Series game, and Francouz went in for him. Unfortunately, he let in the game-winning goal, so the loss counts against him. However, he’s been rock solid.
He has not faced an easy stretch. He faced the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders at home. They’re both playoff contenders. He struggled a little against the Bolts, though he did back the Avs to an overtime loss. (A point is a point). He recorded 27 saves to backstop Colorado to a win against the Islanders.
He then played in back-to-back away games in California. He recorded his first NHL shutout against the Ducks in Anaheim. The next night, he recorded 20 saves to backstop Colorado to a win in LA.
Here’s a nice video of Francouz’ week:
I like that because you usually only get a couple goalie highlights per game. It’s nice to see them all together.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say it — Francouz might be creating a goalie controversy. The timeline for Grubauer’s return hasn’t been set. In fact, the Avalanche may be planning on riding out the Francouz train with the newly-acquired Michael Hutchinson as his backup if Grubauer is out long-term.
If Grubauer does return, though… he’s 4-1-0 in his last five games and 18-12-4 this season (.916 SV% and 2.63 GAA). It’s hard to say you bench that guy, but it’s also hard to say you bench the above guy.
If Grubauer returns for the Colorado Avalanche, I imagine the team will just sit back and watch which goalie gets hot leading into the playoffs. I like that kind of quandary. But, if we’re riding the Francouz train, I’m fine with that, too.