The Colorado Avalanche returned Jonas Johansson to the minor leagues earlier today, suggesting that Pavel Francouz was ready to return to the active roster. Indeed, Francouz no longer appears on injured reserve and should be ready to dress this evening against the Florida Panthers.
It’s been nearly a month since Francouz last appeared for the Avalanche, stopping 26 of 28 shots on December 13 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 32-year-old goaltender had posted a .913 save percentage in nine games through the early part of the season, serving as the primary backup for Alexandar Georgiev.
Without him, it’s been Georgiev every night for the Avalanche, with Johansson only playing 23 minutes in relief on New Year’s Eve. The 29 appearances from Georgiev so far have him closing in on his career-high of 34, set in 2019-20 with the New York Rangers.
With that in mind, it’s a good time for Francouz to get back in the mix and start to split the load as Colorado pushes toward the trade deadline. The club sits in fifth place in the Central Division with a 20-15-3 record, after being decimated by injuries through the first part of the year.
Denis Malgin, the latest of those injuries, was called week-to-week by head coach Jared Bednar earlier today. Peter Baugh of The Athletic relays other updates from the coach, noting that Bowen Byram and Josh Manson are also skating but have no firm timetable yet.