The Colorado Avalanche have announced that they have recalled goaltender Justus Annunen from their AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles. This move comes in the wake of the eye injury starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper suffered in game three against the Nashville Predators.
Although coach Jared Bednar said after the game that Kuemper was “doing better” and had a chance to play in game four, the recall of Annunen indicates that Kuemper is not 100% certain to return for tomorrow’s contest. That hypothesis is further supported by the scenes at the Avalanche’s practice today, as NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika reports that “two goalies” were on the ice and “Kuemper [was] not one of them.” Cotsonika also relayed comments from Bednar, who said that Kuemper’s “eye is fine” but that there is “swelling” and that he will play only “if the swelling goes down.” So, in the case that Kuemper’s eye does not fully recover by tomorrow’s game, the team has Annunen ready to backup Pavel Francouz, who would start.
Annunen, 22, was the 64th overall pick in the 2018 draft and has been the team’s AHL starting goalie for most of this season. He has a .893 save percentage in 48 games at the AHL level and has gotten into two NHL games this season, where he has a .863 mark. Assuming Francouz stays healthy, it’s unlikely that the still-developing Annunen will need to see playoff action for the Avalanche, so his callup is more about protecting Kuemper than anything else.