The Colorado Avalanche will be without both Philipp Grubauer and Erik Johnson for the next while, as head coach Jared Bednar told reporters including Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet that the pair would be out “indefinitely.” Luckily they have Pavel Francouz to step into the net and takeover, as he did so many times this season. The 30-year old undrafted goaltender put up a .923 save percentage in 34 appearances for the Avalanche this season, his first full year in the NHL.
On defense, it will be Kevin Connauton inserted into Johnson’s spot. The veteran NHL defenseman has plenty of experience in the regular season, but hasn’t seen a playoff game since 2014. You can bet the Avalanche won’t be leaning as heavily on Connauton as they did on Johnson, who had been averaging over 19 minutes this postseason.
- When the Calgary Flames collapsed and allowed seven straight goals to the Dallas Stars in an elimination game, many fans called for the team to be blown up. Johnny Gaudreau was the target of much of the frustration, with Eric Francis of Sportsnet even calling him a “likely trade candidate” after he struggled to produce any even-strength offense in the playoffs once again. For what it’s worth, Gaudreau told reporters today including Wes Gilbertson of Postmedia that he loves playing in Calgary and wants to spend the rest of his career with the Flames. He even directly addressed the rumors that have always swirled about his desire to return to the east coast (Gaudreau is from New Jersey and attended Boston College), saying he is “really comfortable” in Calgary, a place that is “special” to him and his family.
- Kasper Bjorkqvist has played just six games at the minor league level, but he won’t be playing another for a while. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect been loaned to KooKoo in Finland’s Liiga for the 2020-21 season. Bjorkqvist, a 2016 second-round pick, played three years at Providence College before signing his entry-level deal in 2019. He played just six games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before injuring his knee and requiring surgery, ending his 2019-20 season.