The Colorado Avalanche announced today that both goalie Pavel Francouz and forward Andre Burakovsky are day-to-day. They will both miss tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Neither was given a return date.
Hunter Miska has been called up to backup Philipp Grubauer tonight. Grubauer will make his third start in a row. Erik Johnson will replace Burakovsky, who has an upper-body injury. That means tonight the Avs will dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. Francouz has a lower-body injury that was sustained in practice.
Francouz sustained his injury at practice yesterday, and Burakovsky had a nagging injury, Bednar said. Both are day-to-day.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) January 19, 2021
"I don't know if it's just for tonight or if it's going to be longer than that." https://t.co/ngu6Bt9pk6
Avs Without Francouz and Burakovsky
This will be an interesting development to keep an eye on going forward. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious, especially with Francouz. It sounds as if Burakovsky could play through something if needed but this early in the season the smart thing to do is rest him. Francouz is yet to start a game this season but it seemed likely his first start would have come Thursday or Friday. If he’s not ready, it will be interesting to see if they role with Grubauer in back-to-back nights, or if Hunter Miska gets the nod.
The Avs play the Kings again on Thursday and then the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and Sunday. Giving Grubauer a night off this weekend seems ideal, but we will see what happens.
As for upfront, rolling 11 forwards isn’t the worst idea for this team. The Toronto Maple Leafs did it rather effectively last night. They rotated their bottom three defencemen through the lineup and the top four stayed relatively the same. That could be the case here too with Ian Cole, Connor Timmins, and Johnson all rotating. It may also give an extra penalty kill body to use.
The Avs forwards should be able to handle it as well because it likely means extra ice for names like Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, and Nazem Kadri. All of which, is never a bad thing. It may also give someone like Brandon Saad more opportunity to get adjusted in an Avs uniform which will benefit them in the long run.
Bowen Byram has also been skating with the Avs team and might be an option to slide in if needed too. Also, Adam Werner has been called up to the Avs taxi squad as you need an extra goalie on it and they need to be healthy.
The biggest question will be the Francouz injury. Day-to-day is encouraging as it means missing more than a few games doesn’t seem very likely at this point. However, that can always change and we will continue to monitor the situation. Miska has only played in one NHL game and that with the Arizona Coyotes back in 2018-19. He let in one goal on nine shots. Lately, his ECHL and AHL numbers have looked really promising so there is some upside with the 25-year-old.
Johnson will make his season debut tonight. Avs fans know exactly what they’re getting out of him in a very steady player who will likely ease into the minutes with seven defencemen. This will be regular-season game 777 for Johnson, the bulk of them with the Avs.