The Colorado Avalanche could be without Philipp Grubauer for a period of time. The 28-year-old netminder took an awkward glancing blow from one of his own teammates early in the third period in a loss to the Los Angeles Kings. This would be Grubauer’s second injury of the year if he is forced to miss any games. Matt Calvert also sustained a lower-body injury. Ryan Clark of The Athletic was among the first to break the injury announcement late Saturday night.
Jared Bednar says both Matt Calvert and Philipp Grubauer susatained lower-body injuries. No timetables were given regarding their statuses. #Avs
— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) February 16, 2020
Philipp Grubauer Out With Injury
Grubauer has been a solid starter for the Avs this season. He has 18 wins in 35 starts with a .915 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against-average. His consistent play has Colorado within striking distance of the Central Division lead. He also has playoff experience. Grubauer has played in 16 postseason contests with a .909 save percentage and 2.69 goals-against-average. He was terrible in three starts prior to this season. So those numbers could look better if the team goes on a deep run this spring.
Colorado acquired Grubauer in a 2018 trade with the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick. That pick turned into Kody Clark. Clark is a decent defensive prospect but doesn’t seem like a difference-maker at the NHL level. The Avalanche will have Grubauer through 2020-21 with an annual cap hit of just $3.3 million.
What This Means for the Future
The Avs have one of the league’s better backup goaltenders in Pavel Francouz. The former KHL all-star has excellent numbers this year. Francouz sported a .925 save percentage and 2.42 goals-against-average prior to the game against the Kings. Behind Francouz are Adam Werner and Antoine Bibeau. Those two are fine but neither are reliable options as the season enters the stretch before the playoffs.
Grubauer’s injury could force Colorado to trade for a veteran netminder. The most talented option might be the Chicago Blackhawks’ Robin Lehner. Intra-division trades are typically less likely to happen. It is more probable that Sakic will contact a team outside the Central. The Ottawa Senators Craig Anderson or one of the Detroit Red Wings‘ goalies could be solid fits. Colorado will keep the extent of Grubauer’s injury vague before the deadline. Teams selling goaltending will try to gouge the Avalanche otherwise.
Calvert’s injury is easier to overcome. T.J. Tynan was recently promoted after scoring 40 points in 34 games in the AHL. The team could trade for a forward like Chris Kreider or Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The Avs needs to determine how long its players will be out before making any big decisions. Colorado has prospects to spend but would like to pay less for reinforcements if they can.