Justus Annunen emerges as a viable candidate for Colorado Avalanche in net

Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

There are a lot of grumblings in Colorado Avalanche nation about the goaltending issues thus far this season. Those are rightfully so, as the Avalanche will need goaltending and team defense come playoff time. The goaltending isn’t the only issue they face, but it hasn’t been overly steady for most of the season.

The positive thing about all this is that the Avalanche may have found a solution to their goaltending problems.

With a tenuous salary cap situation as the NHL trade deadline approaches, the Avalanche need to be creative in acquiring talent. Prior to the season, they were able to obtain Ivan Prosvetov via waivers from Arizona. Prosvetov made the team, and the hope was that he’d be a serviceable backup to incumbent Alexandar Georgiev.

Unfortunately, that did not work out, and Prosvetov was optioned back to the AHL‘s Colorado Eagles after posting a .895 save percentage over 11 games in the NHL. To replace Prosvetov, the Avalanche promoted Justus Annunen, the goalie that was already in their system.

Annunen has been a pleasant surprise over the last few contests, highlighted by his recent string of shutouts in back-to-back starts.

When asked postgame about Annunen’s performance, Colorado coach Jared Bednar had this to say:

Straight from the horse’s mouth, to coin a phrase, if Annunen can keep up this level of play, the net will be his for the taking. He’s stopped his last 51 shots in consecutive shutouts against the Blackhawks, a division rival, in his last two starts.

The emergence of Annunen would help the Avalanche in more than just the goaltending department. With the trade deadline looming and Annunen playing well, the Avalanche could use the money intended for a goalie on a different player to help them moving forward, maybe a depth forward or defenseman.

Annunen’s .913 save percentage is significantly higher than Georgiev’s this season, and the Avalanche hope this trend of his stellar play continues moving forward.