Who Should Be Colorado’s #1 Goalie?

Nov 12th 2020, 2:12pm EST

Many feel the Colorado Avalanche have all the pieces in place to make a run at the Stanley Cup, but they could use an upgrade in goal. In actuality, Colorado's netminders, although somewhat inexperienced, were a major strength for the team last season.

Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz aren't the most high profile names between the pipes by any stretch, but they were a more than capable tandem for the Avalanche in 2019-20. The question is who should be the number one goalie heading into the 2021 campaign? The answer is complicated and not all that clear, though both goaltenders give Colorado a chance to win night in and night out.

Experience

Even though Grubauer is two years younger, he is far more experienced than Francouz at the NHL level. Grubauer has 173 games under his belt, with Francouz only banking 36 thus far after spending a number of years in Europe.

Still, Grubauer hasn't played more than 37 games in a season and Francouz played three years in the KHL with sparkling numbers. NHL experience alone shouldn't automatically give Grubauer an edge.

By the numbers

Both goalies are similar in age and in cost. Francouz, 30, makes $2M a season, while Grubauer is 28 and pulls in an AAV of $3.3M. Those are two very reasonable deals for the production the Avalanche are getting at the position.

At first glance, it would appear Francouz posted the better stats last year with a .923 save percentage and a record of 21-7-4. Those are impressive numbers for a rookie who had only played in two other NHL games prior to the 2019-20 campaign.

Grubauer countered with a mark of 18-12-4 and a .916 save percentage. Those are also very strong totals but they don't tell the entire story.

Quality shots

Grubauer actually faced the more difficult shots of the two, with an average shot distance of 37.3 feet. Francouz, on the other hand, saw the majority of his shots come from a little further out at an average of 39.2 feet.

This same discrepancy appears when you compare high-danger shots for Grubauer and Francouz. Of all the shots Grubauer faced, 22.1% were in a high-danger area, compared to just 20% for Francouz. So Francouz may have had the best overall stats, but his workload was a bit easier than Grubauer's in some areas.

How they deal with a weaker lineup

This is where we see an edge for Francouz. The Avalanche were decimated by injuries last season to a number of key players, and Francouz was able to handle it much better than Grubauer was.

With Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Cale Makar sidelined, Francouz went 21-12 and posted a .914 save percentage. Conversely, Grubauer slumped to an 8-14 mark while managing just a .901 save percentage. Injuries can derail a lot of teams, so the fact that Francouz excelled with so many key players out of the lineup is a great sign for Colorado.

Colorado can't really go wrong with either option, but if I were the Avalanche or debating which one to draft on my fantasy team, I'd lean towards Francouz. If the Avs can stay healthy and Francouz receives an edge in starts, he could be in for another very strong campaign and be available later in your draft.

@amato_mike

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Jan 7th 2016, 1:09am EST
Advanced Stats NHL Context
By Brian Lemenager (@WeakGloveSide) Given @terichazau recent introduction of some advanced statistics used to evaluate both individual players and teams, I figured it best to give some context to those statistics. I'll start with PDO.
Jan 4th 2016, 11:14am EST
Advanced Statistics 200
By Teri Chazau (@terichazau) After covering the basics of possession numbers in last week's article, it's time to delve deeper into the world of advanced statistics. Too often I see supposed authorities of sports writing stipulating about the implications of certain stats only to recognize that they really don't know what they're talking about.
Dec 30th 2015, 11:01pm EST
Advanced Statistics 101
By Teri Chazau (@terichazau) With advanced statistics continuing to grow in popularity, they have managed to creep onto the fantasy scene as well. Consequently, I wanted to educate our audience with a little introduction to advanced statistics, also known as possession statistics, so that you may apply them when considering players of any position for your roster.
Dec 24th 2015, 11:12am EST
Hot or Not
By Brian Lemenager (@WeakGloveSide) This week I look at how goalies have been playing the past month. We\'re moving into the heart of the NHL season and teams should be settling in to who they are and forming their identity.
Dec 21st 2015, 11:27am EST
Why The Butterfly Is So Effective
By Teri Chazau (@terichazau) It seems crazy to think that mere decades ago the butterfly was not a technique. It took a series of events, beginning with the introduction of the goalie mask and culminating in the likes of Vladislav Tretiak and Patrick Roy, to cement the butterfly as a legitimate style of goaltending.
Dec 17th 2015, 9:14am EST
Best Teams for Goalie Starts
By Brian Lemenager (@WeakGloveSide) Drafting the best players is important in every fantasy league. However, exploiting matchups allows owners to squeeze the best out of their rosters and maximize success over the course of the season.
Dec 14th 2015, 9:01am EST
In Search Of More Goals
By Teri Chazau (@terichazau) It's obvious at this point how the NHL views its profits more goals = more fans = more money. Changes dating back to the 2004-05 lockout have largely entailed an eye for more scoring.
Dec 10th 2015, 9:23am EST
3 Stars of the Week & Looking Ahead
By Brian Lemenager (@WeakGloveSide) 3: Garret Sparks & his pads Sparks posted a shutout in his first career NHL start and did so in style rocking some of the best pads I've seen to date. He stumbled in his second start against Winnipeg surrendering 6 goals but he was able to rebound against the Blues, stopping 27 of 28 shots and winning his second game in three starts.
Dec 7th 2015, 9:11am EST
Hidden Gems in Net for Season Long Fantasy
By Teri Chazau (@terichazau) #1 Michael Neuvirth (PHI) five wins, . 939 save %, 3 shutouts The Flyers have been a slow starting team in recent years but always seem to turn on the jets as the season wears on, soyou can expect some offensive support to Neuvirth's stellar numbers thus far.
Dec 3rd 2015, 9:41am EST
November 4 Goalie Ramblings
Just a few ramblings and notes from around the league: We will start off in Calgary where they are a mess in net. Hiller is gone for at least another few days and Ramo has called up from the dead and started the last two games where he's given up 4 and 5 goals, respectively.
Nov 4th 2015, 10:02am EST
November 4 Goalie Ramblings
Just a few ramblings and notes from around the league: We will start off in Calgary where they are a mess in net. Hiller is gone for at least another few days and Ramo has called up from the dead and started the last two games where he's given up 4 and 5 goals, respectively.
Nov 4th 2015, 10:01am EST
November 4 Goalie Ramblings
Just a few ramblings and notes from around the league: We will start off in Calgary where they/\'re a mess in net. Hiller is gone for at least another few days and Ramo has called up from the dead and started the last two games where he\'s given up 4 and 5 goals, respectively.
Nov 4th 2015, 9:49am EST
September 11, 2015
Big announcement! For the first time ever, Goalie Post is offering FREE email notifications. Yep.
Sep 11th 2015, 5:26pm EDT
Goalie Post Ramblings Feb 10, 2015
By Jake Schenkman Just some quick notes regarding some goalie tandems around the league. .
Feb 10th 2015, 10:31am EST
Goalie Post Ramblings Jan 21, 2015
By Jason Banks We are nearing the all-star break, leading into deadline transactions and we are starting to see interesting situations develop. Ryan Miller is trucking along, at an elite pace since late-December.
Jan 21st 2015, 10:30am EST
Goalie Post Ramblings Jan 8, 2015
By Jason Banks Welcome back all to a new year and a time to heat up down the stretch before the trade deadline! We have to start with Semyon Varlamov after his huge 54 save shutout vs Chicago last night. As impressive as he was last season with 41 wins, last season he only compiled a pair of shutouts, while last night\'s blanking was his third in only 21 games.
Jan 8th 2015, 8:39am EST
Goalie Post Ramblings Dec 30, 2014
By Jake Schenkman Here's a few updates on happenings around the league: Brian Elliott will be back in the crease tonight after Brodeur got a shutout last night. Hitchcock hinted that they'll be carrying 3 goalies for now but it seems like Brodeur will be gone sooner rather than later, and I just don't see another team taking him unless they're desperate.
Dec 30th 2014, 11:40am EST
Goalie Post Ramblings Dec 19, 2014
By Jake Schenkman Just some quick notes on some goalie injuries and some possible extra starts. Doesn't seem like Bishop's injury is long term as the coach has said there's a shot he'll be back Tuesday.
Dec 19th 2014, 11:12am EST
Goalie Post Ramblings: Dec 10 2014
By Jason Banks Happy Wednesday all, Shall we start on Pekka Rinne? How has this guy been?! Many were selling due to his hip issues which usually sound like a career killer, but if you were lucky enough to be at the last DobberHockey event, you would have known better and attempted to buy low. Justin Goldman explained the hip issue Rinne had been suffering and discussed how the procedure would actually make him more flexible and stronger in net.
Dec 10th 2014, 8:58am EST
Goaliepost Ramblings: Dec 5 2014
By Jason Banks Happy December everyone, By now we are all into the eighth week of fantasy and it is time to start solving major team problems, there have been several moves in the past few days that could throw Band-Aids on your goaltending problems or create some. Up there with Josh Harding breaking his foot kicking a wall, Corey Crawford hurts his foot stumbling leaving a Rise Against concert.
Dec 4th 2014, 10:22am EST
Goalie Post Ramblings: Nov 26th 2014
Hello all, Jason Banks here, Dobber and co. have called me up to help watch over the world of netminding for fantasy poolies.
Nov 26th 2014, 1:32pm EST
Monday Night Review
By Jake Schenkman So Fleury becomes the third youngest goalie to get to 300 wins. I can't see I saw that coming but good for him as this is a big accomplishment and he's having a fantastic year.
Nov 25th 2014, 12:27am EST
Throwback Thursday
By Jake Schenkman Reminder that the Sabres-Rangers game that was scheduled for tonight has been postponed due to the storm in Buffalo. As of now, there has been no make up date announced.
Nov 21st 2014, 1:11am EST
Quiet Wednesday in Hockey
Cam Talbot had 30 saves in a shutout win for the Rangers against Steve Mason and the Flyers. Mason could not be faulted at all in this one and actually kept it close for the most part.
Nov 20th 2014, 9:01am EST
Sunday Night Ramblings
By Jake Schenkman Talk about making your NHL debut in style. Troy Grosenick had a 45 save shutout in his NHL debut against Khudobin and the Hurricanes.
Nov 17th 2014, 12:31am EST
Saturday Night Goalie Review
By Jake Schenkman - Rask brought the Bruins back in the win column with 33 saves over the Canes. Ward had a decent game, and while Khudobin will start today, Ward will be right back in next game.
Nov 16th 2014, 11:37am EST
Throwback Thursday
We start off with the Varlamov and the Avs beating Lundqvist and the Rangers. I am kind of surprised with this as I thought the Rangers were turning it around and Lundqvist had his A game going but Varlamov was great in this one and pretty much stole the two points for the Avs.
Nov 14th 2014, 9:23am EST
Throwback Thursday
We start off with the Varlamov and the Avs beating Lundqvist and the Rangers. I am kind of surprised with this as I thought the Rangers were turning it around and Lundqvist had his A game going but Varlamov was great in this one and pretty much stole the two points for the Avs.
Nov 14th 2014, 9:22am EST
Tuesday Night Specials
By Jake Schenkman The Devils were led back in the win column by Schneider last night. After a couple bad games, he made at least four spectacular saves last night with helped them beat the Wild.
Nov 12th 2014, 9:19am EST
Monday Night Review
By Jake Schenkman Rask and the Bruins scored two late goals on Schneider in the second period to win this one. Schneider admittedly wasn't happy with his performance and there's a chance we see Kinkaid start tonight.
Nov 11th 2014, 9:56am EST
Struggling Goaltenders
I posted this on Puck Daddy earlier today, but here is a snippet relative to goaltenders. Specifically - the struggling ones Cam Ward, John Gibson, Steve Mason and Semyon Varlamov.
Oct 23rd 2014, 10:34pm EDT
Berra, Bobrovsky, and Braden
by Justin Goldman It has been a really fun start to the season when it comes to scouting backups and prospects. With 49 goalies appearing in games so far (you could say that's 19 backups), minutes have been really spread out in Week 1.
Oct 14th 2014, 2:26am EDT
On Steve Mason and Mike Smith
by Dobber For our new feature on Goalie Post, we've taken a page from DobberHockey and created a Ramblings. I'll weigh in with my thoughts, but you can also expect content from goalie expert Justin Goldman, as well as Goalie Post manager Jake (known as "smack" in the Forum).
Oct 11th 2014, 11:10am EDT
Test for the ramblings
This is a test for the ramblings. This is a test for the ramblings.
Oct 10th 2014, 11:32pm EDT
Promo