Colorado Avalanche: Do We Have Goalie Depth?

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 18: Pavel Francouz #39 of the Colorado Avalanche drops to make a save against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 18: Pavel Francouz #39 of the Colorado Avalanche drops to make a save against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Do the Colorado Avalanche have goalie depth? My answer is yes. We have three different goalies with loads of experience. Why wouldn’t the answer be yes?

The Colorado Avalanche want to know: What is goalie depth? Is it that a team has a number of goalies they can rely on when injury strikes? We have that. Just look at us being able to pull Adam Werner and Hunter Miska from the Colorado Eagles when times were tough.

I’m not sure that’s what it means though.

Anyhow, I want to talk about our current goalies and what they bring to our team.

We now have three goalies on the team. Each with different experience and abilities.

Philipp Grubauer

Philipp Grubauer, or Gru as we prefer to call him, has been with the team for two seasons. He came to us as the backup for Varly (Semyon Varlamov) and played 37 games in his first season (2018-19). So far this season he’s only played 36, and that as the Colorado Avalanche ‘#1’ goalie. He’s had several injuries which have taken him out for weeks.

Sounds like a replay of the space we were in when Varly was our #1 goalie. When Grubauer returned from his first injury he was given constant ice time, as the coach said that he needed that time to build his confidence back up.

Grubauer is a left-handed goalie, like most in the NHL and other teams have found the sweet spot where they can shoot and get the puck past him. Frustrating, when you’re the #1 goalie I’m sure.

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He has playoff experience, which proved valuable for the Avalanche last season when they made it through into the second round.

Gru is one of the most flexible goalies that I’ve seen. Watching him warm up and seeing him do the splits then lay flat out face forward, does my head in. His flexibility is what makes him a great goalie.

The one thing that I became aware of over Christmas via a leading hockey magazine is that Grubauer has had glandular fever. From my own experience, I know that to have lasting effects of severe tiredness when you least expect it.

Given the physical nature of the game goalies play, this is a big issue and could be a big problem for Grubauer in a key playoff run. Grubauer is currently ranked at #24 in Save Percentage in the NHL, middle of the pack ranking.

He’s showed us that he can pull out big games in the playoffs when it counts.  This is Grubauer’s eighth season in the NHL. Maybe we’ve seen the best of him. Let’s hope not.

Pavel Francouz

Pavel Francouz has more than proven himself in what is his first NHL season. Sure, we watched him perform well whilst he was with the Colorado Eagles, and he’s stepped it up a notch in the NHL.

Frankie is a right-handed goalie, something unusual in the NHL. This gives him an edge, at one level. Other teams are starting to become aware of his blind spot too, but overall he’s well and truly shown he’s up to the challenge of goaltending in the NHL.

Francouz has stepped up a number of times this season whilst Grubauer has been injured. He’s performed in back to backs and saved the team. Many a game this season he’s been the last line of defence, and I mean that in the not so great way. The defence hasn’t worked as well as it should, and he’s been there doing amazing things, to save the day.

Pavel is another very flexible goalie. Why am I mentioning this?  Well, goalies are either big and built like brick walls where they fill the net and you have small amounts of space to get past them, when they are front on to the net, or they are smaller and agile.

The Colorado Avalanche goaltending #1 and #2 are both of the flexible kind. And if you had any doubt about Francouz’s flexibility you are crazy, after some of the things he’s done so far this season.

Frankie is currently ranked #9 in the NHL for save percentage. Pretty good for a guy who is experiencing his first full NHL season.

I personally experience Frankie as more consistent in net than Gru. Not sure how you feel about this, you may totally disagree with me.

Michael Hutchinson

So right before the trade deadline this year Joe Sakic picked up Michael Hutchinson in a trade with the Maple Leafs.

He’s one of those big guys that just fills the net. Very different from our other two goalies.

Michael has played one game in goal and has the win. Was I confident in him going into the game, no way, yet he showed that he knows what he’s about, and his size certainly adds value.

Next. Francous is Here to Stay. dark

So the question was ‘Do we have goalie depth?’  My answer is, for sure. With these three goalies who are different in the way they function as a goalie, who could say otherwise.

I’m looking forward to watching how this trio performs for us in a playoff run.