It was a rare practice day for the Colorado Avalanche as they prepare to host the Calgary Flames in a rematch at Ball Arena on Sunday evening. With the practice session came a whole array of news both on and off the ice.
First up, the Avalanche announced Pavel Francouz signed a two-year contract extension. As reporters noted it is the exact replica of the $2M cap hit per year deal he signed almost exactly two years ago.
The signing is a fantastic piece of business to lock up a goaltender who is very enthusiastic about staying in Colorado and at a price point where the team could still retain fellow netminder Darcy Kuemper or look elsewhere in free agency with the security of already having a NHL goaltender on contract. Francouz has enjoyed a bounce back season after his injury woes with a record of 10-3-1, two shutouts, a .920 save percentage and 2.46 goals against average which has helped stabilize the Avalanche’s situation in net.
Samuel Girard was mysteriously absent prior to the game in Carolina which was subsequently revealed due to a lower body injury. Head coach Jared Bednar provided the update that Girard is expected to miss four weeks. This will be Girard’s first significant absence in his five-year NHL career.
That was not all for injury surprise news as Gabe Landeskog missed the practice session despite playing the entire contest in Carolina. Bednar indicated that Landeskog will have knee surgery on Monday to help alleviate something that has been bothering him. No firm timeline until after the surgery but it is expected Landeskog will return around the end of the regular season.
In happier news, Bowen Byram joined the team for the entire practice session and his first skating with teammates since he returned to the ice nearly three weeks ago. No word on when he could possibly play again but this is a significant step closer to that goal.