3 players who could solve the Colorado Avalanche’s goaltending woes in 2024-25

Goaltending was a major concern for the Colorado Avalanche in 2023-24, but luckily, there are quite a few big names who could be traded this offseason.
Nov 4, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) makes a save as Colorado Avalanche left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) looks for a deflection during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) makes a save as Colorado Avalanche left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) looks for a deflection during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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Imagine what the Colorado Avalanche could have done this postseason if they had better goaltending, but they still rolled with Alexandar Georgiev, whose 2023-24 campaign was a far cry from what he accomplished the season prior. Georgiev finished the postseason with 11 games and 11 starts, but his save percentage still dipped below 0.900, and his 2.85 GAA, while better than his regular season number, still wasn’t where it needed to be. 

As for what he notched between October and mid-April, Georgiev posted a 3.02 GAA, an 0.897 save percentage, and a quality starts percentage of just 0.435. These aren’t what you want from a goaltender hoping to take even the league’s best scoring team on a deep playoff run, so perhaps the Avs need to find a replacement to factor in as the No. 1 netminder, or at least as a 1A. 

The three names you’ll find below could easily fill that void, and they would give fans and the organization far more reassurance in 2024-25 than Georgiev gave this past season. 

Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins

Linus Ullmark may have a 16-team no-trade clause, but he wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a team like the Avalanche if they wanted to acquire his services. Ullmark may have fallen to the No. 2 spot with the Boston Bruins in 2023-24, but he’s still a No. 1 goaltender on nearly every other NHL roster, and that would be the case in Colorado. 

Even if by any chance the Avs traded for Ullmark and still kept Alexandar Georgiev while still, somehow, finding a way to remain cap compliant, it would be Ullmark’s team, and he would fare much better than Georgiev. But in a situation like this, Georgiev would likely receive a ticket to Boston, where he would factor in as the 1B behind Jeremy Swayman. 

A third team may need to come in to “broker” the deal, thanks to Ullmark’s total 2024-25 salary of $4.5 million, but even with his “demotion” behind Swayman this past season, he remains one of the NHL’s top goaltenders. Ullmark still snagged two shutouts, a 2.57 GAA, and a 0.915 save percentage. Going into 2024-25, even if he posted similar numbers, he would still fare much better than anything Georgiev offered this year. 

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

Juuse Saros is another goaltender who has just a season to go on his current contract, and although his $5 million salary looks like a scary proposition, swapping him for Alexandar Georgiev and other assets would take away a lot of pressure for the Avs to remain under the cap. Much like with Linus Ullmark and the next name listed, adding in a “broker” for a hypothetical trade involving Saros would be the way to go. 

But unlike with Ullmark, Saros would only be an outstanding addition if the Avalanche didn’t feel Justus Annunen was ready for an expanded role. Saros has started 194 games over the past three seasons, and that breaks down to between 64 and 65 per year. 

But Saros’ presence would all but guarantee a deep playoff run should the Avs keep most of their team intact and add him. Sure, it would put the team right up against the cap, but with a 0.915 save percentage, a 2.73 GAA, nine shutouts, and a 0.608 quality starts percentage in those three previous seasons, Saros would solidify what could be the NHL’s most complete team in 2024-25. and perhaps beyond.

Adin Hill, Vegas Golden Knights

While Adin Hill’s name hasn’t quite reached the rumor mill, there is a good chance he’s no longer the 1A in Vegas following an injury-riddled year that saw Logan Thompson play in more games than anticipated. But it would be wrong for a team to write off Hill based on his recent injury history if the Golden Knights look to shop him. 

Hill’s performances weren’t as good as they were a season ago, as he finished with a 2.71 GAA and a 0.909 save percentage, but he still logged two shutouts and was especially effective when his team was short-handed. He would also factor in as the best fit for the current situation regarding the Avalanche’s goaltenders, and take up a spot either as a 1A or a 1B alongside Justus Annunen. 

The issue here would be what to do with Alexandar Georgiev, whose inconsistencies in 2023-24 may deter the cash-strapped Golden Knights from making a goaltender swap. One way to remedy this would be to once again get a third team involved to retain some of Georgiev’s salary, and that could take away a significant amount of the $2.9 million owed to the up-and-down netminder. 

While Vegas would save money in this trade, they will also inevitably want to continue to improve their lineup, so adding a “broker” here would also be the most logical move. 

Chris MacFarland may need to figure out logistics regarding Hill’s future, and whether he would be a one-year stopgap before the Avs find a potential long-term solution. Or, if he would just be there until Annunen is ready to step in as the clear-cut No. 1 goaltender for 2025-26. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)