The Colorado Avalanche’s season ended prematurely. So, in the long offseason, we’ll look at how players did in the playoffs. First up: Pavel Francouz.
The Colorado Avalanche’s 2019-20 campaign is over, and that still stings. After all the ups and downs this year brought, it’s still sad to see it all in the rearview mirror.
However, that’s exactly where the season is — in the rearview mirror. Hey, at least the Avs lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the way the stupid Stars are playing. That’s something, right?
Anyway, who knows what the future brings in this ever-changing COVID world. We’re all hoping for a December starts, and that kind of sucks in mid-September. So, in the meantime, let’s look at how the players did in their two rounds of the playoffs.
First up is our first backup, Pavel Francouz.
Pavel Francouz was a first-year player this season. At 29 — now 30 — he was officially too old to be called a rookie. What’s more, he was more second in command than backup because he played in almost half — 34 of 70 — games and started a full 31. Indeed, in the playoffs, he played in five of the 12 games Colorado played plus one of the round robin games.
Francouz recorded a shutout against Dallas in the round robin. He also played one game against the Arizona Coyotes, the second game of a back-to-back series. That was a loss that saw Francouz let in two goals in 21 shots. It was a .905 save percentage, but he was up against a Darcy Kuemper playing insane hockey.
No one wanted to see Francouz again. No offense to Frankie, but you really want your backup to stay on the bench during the playoffs. Because when he comes off the bench, it means something bad is going on with your starter.
That’s not the way this injury-riddled season played out for Colorado. Pavel Francouz went in for Phillip Grubauer in Game 1 against Dallas when Grubauer went down with a bad groin injury. Francouz let in two goals in 20 shots, and one of them was the game-winner. So, he’s the goalie of record for the loss.
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It didn’t go up from there. Francouz started in the next three games, and only one of those was a win. He recorded a .892 save percentage for that win. The other two games, he recorded .846 and .808 save percentages. In the playoffs, that’s simply not good enough.
We knew what was wrong with Grubauer. But Francouz? His injury was less obvious.
According to GM Joe Sakic, Francouz was “battling through his issues once he came in.” At first I thought that meant he came into the bubble injured, but maybe he got injured in the Arizona game. Whatever happened, he was not fit to for the final three Avalanche games.
Ultimately, it’s hard to know what to make of the Pavel Francouz situation in this playoffs. He didn’t play well, especially against Dallas in round two. While some might chalk it up to the stage being too big, Francouz is known for being unflappable.
The Colorado Avalanche got adequate goal tending in the playoffs. Unfortunately, that’s simply not sufficient for the post season. Francouz was only one part of that situation.