Colorado Avalanche make goalie change official with change of backup in final month before trade deadline.

With the absence of Pavel Francouz heading into the regular season, the Avs were pressured to find a quick and cheap option to fill their goalie position behind Alexandar Georgiev. With late notice, the Avs made the desperate move to claim Ivan Prosvetov off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes, while leaving 23 year old netminder, Justus Annunen down with the AHL affiliated Colorado Eagles for additional development. Four months later the Avs have made a change with roughly one month left before the NHL trade deadline.
Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens
Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Friday evening, the Colorado Avalanche announced that Ivan Prosvetov was being sent to waivers. This move cleared a roster spot for another goalie, with speculation that Justus Annunen was getting called up ahead of the Avs upcoming six-game road trip. The call-up was made official Sunday afternoon as the transaction was made official after Prosvetov cleared waivers and was designated to the Colorado Eagles in the lateral move. Annunen will now play the backup role behind Georgiev for at least the next month of Colorado hockey.

Justus Annunen's possible career as an Avalanche hangs in the balance over the next 30 days as the Avalanche continue to evaluate their options ahead of the March 8th trade deadline. Annunen is only 23 years old, set to celebrate his 24th birthday next month, just three days after the trade deadline. The Coloardo Avalanche drafted Annunen 64th overall in the 2018 draft, where he was ranked as the fourth-best international goalie heading into the draft, and with good reason. His numbers across his career in Finland tell an interesting story of success at the Jr. A level and opportunities with Karpat in the Finland Professional level Liga.

The Avs have had a revolving door at the goalie position and it isn't often that a player of Annunen's pedigree is found with the potential he has. Many goalies are drafted and spend their minor league careers attempting to break into the NHL. Annunen is currently in this predicament, having played five total games at the NHL level as a backup for the Avs in micro doses. His record in those five games: 3-1-1 with a .875 SV% and a 3.60 GAA. Yes, the save percentage numbers and goals against average aren't great, but this is a kid that is capable of so much more as he has shown in the past.

In 33 playoff appearances across his Jr. A, Liga and AHL career, Annunen posted a 20-12-1 record with a .907 SV% and a 2.59 GAA. Expect Annunen to get some solid playing time against other NHL teams the rest of this month, and hopefully for the rest of the regular season with the AVS and into the playoffs. The Avalanche have to see what the kid can do now, as he is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in the offseason. With the Avs looking to address the backup role, it will start with Justus Annunen. If he performs well, expect to see him re-signed in the offseason by the Avs, but if he performs too well, he could be targeted by other teams, leaving the Avs in a difficult hole in trying to match any contract he gets offered.