The injuries continue for Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz, who will be out three to four weeks with a lower-body issue. Francouz missed all of last season and has played just 36 regular season games since signing with the Avalanche in 2018. The team also announced that head coach Jared Bednar has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the team’s remaining two preseason games. In his absence, assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt will takeover.
While losing the head coach is a big blow, it’s Francouz’s absence that is the real headline for the Avalanche. The backup goaltender was expected to carry a steady load this season to help new start Darcy Kuemper stay healthy and fresh, but will now once again be out to start the year. When he’s been healthy enough to play, Francouz has been outstanding, posting a .923 save percentage in those 36 appearances. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been available to the team when they’ve needed him most and is now out of the picture.
One positive is the strong goaltending depth that the team has built, with Hunter Miska and Jonas Johansson in the system. Even beyond them, Justus Annunen sits in the minor leagues as the future at the position, though he has played only three games at the AHL level to this point. There will likely be an opportunity for Colorado to claim another goaltender off waivers in the coming days as well if they choose to, as teams try to slide their third-string options down to the minor leagues.