The Colorado Avalanche acquired goaltender Antoine Bibeau from the San Jose Sharks on Friday, but that doesn’t mean that they are content with their current depth in net. Adrian Dater of ColoradoHockeyNow.com reports that the team is still looking to make an addition at goalie. He adds that Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry and Winnipeg’s Eric Comrie are the likely targets, either via trade or waivers.
Although the Avs are happy to hand over the reins to Philipp Grubauer as the new starter, there may be some concern about backup Pavel Francouz, who is entering just his second season in North America. However, even if they are comfortable with Francouz – a reigning AHL All-Star with considerable European success on his resume – the AHL options are not all that appealing if an injury were to occur. New addition Bibeau was merely a passable AHL goaltender last season in San Jose, splitting starts evenly with Josef Korenar, who outperformed Bibeau’s .904 save percentage and 2.89 GAA. Even with the uncertainly in net for the Sharks last season, Bibeau did not earn a recall and has not seen any NHL action since 2016-17. The only other keeper under contract for Colorado is off-season signing Adam Werner, who played just one season at the top level in Sweden before making the jump. Werner may need seasoning in the ECHL before he can be asked to be the next man up as an AHL regular.
Both Jarry or Comrie would certainly be an upgrade to the depth in Denver and could push Francouz for backup duties. Both players are expected to hit waivers in the coming days, as their respective teams face a roster crunch with too many goalies to choose from. The Penguins just re-signed backup Casey DeSmith to a three-year extension last year in the midst of a season in which he performed well over a career-high 36 appearances. It carries a relatively affordable $1.25MM cap hit if DeSmith continues to succeed as a reliable understudy to Matt Murray. Jarry, 24, meanwhile struggled in two NHL appearances last year, but did have a good AHL campaign. His $675K contract is also extremely affordable (below the current league minimum on new contracts in fact) and the Avalanche could hope to take advantage of the raw ability that made him a second-round pick in 2013. Comrie, 24, is also a 2013 second-round pick, taken just 15 picks after Jarry. The two also share a common theme of playing well in the minors but squandering their NHL opportunities. In a few brief showings, Comrie has done nothing to show the Jets that he is worthy of backing up Connor Hellebuyck while Laurent Brossoit is still in the mix. Brossoit is an impending free agent, so Winnipeg could be more protective of him, but the odds still favor a waiver placement. Colorado could put a claim in on one of the two should they hit the wire or instead make a preemptive trade. However, that would require the Avs to then carry three goalies or risk losing Francouz on waivers themselves. The team could opt to hope they pass through waivers untouched and then negotiate a trade, allowing them the same flexibility to move them to the AHL, but that’s only if either team is still willing to deal. It’s not a straightforward objective to acquire and retain either young keeper, but it surely is one worth exploring for GM Joe Sakic and company.