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Assessing possible goaltending options for the Avs

A new netminder might be in the stars.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Injury news has already hurt the Colorado Avalanche this season.

This time, it concerns backup goaltender Pavel Francouz. He has still not recovered from his surgery in the offseason and has been absent from practices thus far. Frank Servalli of the Daily Faceoff stated the Avs may be looking at the market for any netminders to fill the spot Francouz occupies.

The 33-year-old has struggled with injury after signing his most recent contract - which he is in the final year of. When he hasn’t been hurt, Francouz is a superb netminder with a career average of .919 save percentage and 2.49 goals against average. So who can fill those shoes with the season just around the corner?

Casey DeSmith

DeSmith was moved on from the Pittsburgh Penguins and headed to the Montreal Canadiens this summer. However, the Habs may want to move on from him already.

He has been the butt-end of several jokes and anger from Penguins fans in particular for his efforts, especially in the 2022 NHL PLayoffs and their first-round loss to the New York Rangers. DeSmith is arguably one of the best options available this late in the offseason and the Avs may want to jump on him.

Jake Allen

Another Habs goaltender makes the list as a possible option for the same reasons as DeSmith. Also the same as DeSmith, Montreal has lots of goaltending options they’d rather take over DeSmith or Allen.

Allen has a career 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage, but massively struggled last season with the rebuilding Habs. He could be a good option for Colorado but would need to rely on the Avs' defense to keep shots away from him so he doesn’t implode.

Michael Hutchinson

Hutchinson is a former Avalanche player, which may give him a leg-up in selling himself to the team. The 33-year-old’s one year in Colorado was uneventful in the regular season, but he saw four games of action in the 2020 NHL Bubble Playoffs thanks to the exodus of injuries in net - Francouz included.

For what it’s worth, Hutchinson did an incredible job in net to keep the Avs alive in games until they just ran out of gas against the Dallas Stars in the second round. Could he replicate his performances in the regular season at an older age? It seems like the most likely option on this list, in my opinion.

John Gibson

How about a fun one? Gibson has found life very difficult with the flailing Anaheim Ducks, consistently being stranded in his crease by the Ducks defense. Could he force a move out of Southern California if Chris MacFarland came calling?

Gibson would either need to waive his no-trade clause and have the Ducks retain some salary, or get bought out by the team and made a free agent. His $6.4 million cap hit is massive and would be hard to work around with the Avs who are already working around the cap this season with Gabriel Landeskog’s contract. But one could dream of seeing Gibson in an Avalanche jersey.

There are still some other free-agent goaltenders available who didn’t make the list such as Mike Smith or Jaroslav Halak. Or, the Avs will wait until some goalies hit the waiver wire during the preseason and pick up another Jonas Johanssen like again - or even pick up JoJo again if he ends up there!

Who’s your pick to go in the net as a backup for some time this season for the Avs? Let us know in the comments below!