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Season in Review: Goaltenders

The netminders were a solid bright spot in a rough year.

Seattle Kraken v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche managed to use the most players in the league last season due to their injury turmoil, over 40 players to be exact. The goaltenders were no different, having to use five of them throughout the season. But, they were a bright spot in the crease and kept the Avs in several games throughout the season to eventually help them win the Central Division.

Let’s go over the men with pillows on and see just how they did throughout this season’s turmoil.

Keith Kinkaid: 1GP, .889 SV%, 2.15 GAA

Kinkaid was a trade deadline pickup by the Avs for Shane Bowers in a deal with the Boston Bruins. When the move was made, Pavel Francouz was injured and his status was unknown going into the playoffs. Hence, the move gave Colorado an extra option just in case they needed it.

But, Kinkaid spent the majority of his time in Loveland with the Colorado Eagles donning the Bruin yellow pads. He was called up a few times but only came in in relief once in an Avs jersey. He made eight saves in relief in a brutal loss against the Dallas Stars, giving up one goal in the process.

With the Eagles, he saw some more action. He played in seven games, with a 4-3 record .918 SV%, 2.92 GAA, and a shutout. But overall, not too much to be thrilled about or analyze in his eight total games with the organization.

Justus Annunen: 2GP, .854 SV%, 3.58 GAA

Annunen struggled with the Avs in his two games all season. He did win in his first start of the season against the St. Louis Blues, only giving up one in the winning effort. But, his second game against the New Jersey Devils did not go to plan.

He was on the hook for six goals given up in a loss but didn’t get much help in front of him as a whole. In his four career NHL games, he’s shown some promise but is far from even being the regular backup for the NHL club.

For the AHL club, he had a successful season. In 41 games, he won 22 of them with a .916 SV%, 2.55 GAA, and a shutout of his own as well. He split a lot of time with the next name on this list and ultimately got lit up in the Calder Cup playoffs, particularly in game one against the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate to the Seattle Kraken. He remains the best goaltending prospect the Avs have, but it’s a matter of how much more he can develop moving forward, especially still at just the age of 23.

Jonas Johansson: 3GP, .932 SV%, 2.10 GAA

Johansson had a wild year, starting with the Avs, before being picked up on waivers by the Arizona Coyotes, and then being picked up on waivers again by Colorado. While he spent the regular season in the same state with the same organization, he didn’t see much NHL time, nor was he expected to.

In his three games, he won two of them (both his starts) of the season against the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks but did come in in relief in a New Year's Eve drubbing by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He looked solid at times, but then again didn’t look to have a much higher ceiling and didn’t have space for him at the NHL level.

Like the other two on this list so far, most of his playing time was in Loveland. In 26 games, he had a .920 SV% and 2.33 GAA. He looked solid at points and certainly could’ve stuck with it at the AHL level. But, his time in North America, for now, has come to a close with a move back to Sweden to play. At least we will always have this incredible save, probably the best of his time in Colorado.

Pavel Francouz: 16GP, .915 SV%, 2.61 GAA

Francouz again had an up-and-down year when it came to the injury bug. This has plagued him throughout his entire career up to this point, and he had another surgery this offseason to help as well.

But, he still managed to play in 16 games, all starts this season with the Avs. His .915 SV% and 2.61 GAA were solid as a backup which we’d seen several times previous to this season.

His most memorable game was his shutout of the Ottawa Senators on January 14, along with his return to action from injury on April 9 in Anaheim. The first of the two games was his only shutout of the season and kickstarted a huge turnaround in the second half of the season. Meanwhile, his last game of the season was good going until the team in front of him stopped playing defense and left him out to dry in a close win. It was nice to see him return one last time this season, and hopefully, he can continue to stay healthy and back up the final man on this list.

Alexandar Georgiev: 62GP, .918 SV%, 2.53 GAA

Georgiev was a monster in net for the Avs and huge when called upon. In all his starts, he usually had something memorable or was on the good side of a bad defeat. Being a bright spot in the team all season in just his first year, earned him plenty of kudos from Jared Bednar.

Georgiev’s 40 wins highlight a heck of a stat line, ending the year with a total of 1,748 saves and five shutouts. Some were skeptical of Georgie coming into a starting role for the first time in his career at 27 years old, but he proved the doubters wrong every step of the way. It was shown in his win back at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

His first year in Colorado is certainly comparable to the likes of Philipp Grubauer and Darcy Kuemper, one of which was argued all season long to see if he was really up to the task. Arguably, he was better than both of their first years in an Avs jersey, as it is usually a trend to see goaltenders in their first-year struggle.

Gruabuer’s first year in Colorado saw him have 18 wins, .917 SV%, and a 2.64 GAA. Meanwhile, Kuemper’s first and only year for the Avalanche saw him have 37 wins, .908 SV%, and a 2.87 GAA en route to the Stanley Cup.

With the best save percentage and lowest goals-against average, Georgiev has solidified himself as the starter moving forward and should only get better at only 27 with at least two more years in Colorado. He was excellent and a shining star in the rough patches of the season. He will hopefully keep getting better and keep making more game-saving saves like this.