Avalanche Goalie Retires Following Brief, Injury-Plagued Career

Pavel Francouz, the Avalanche’s veteran backup goaltender, confirmed his retirement due to persistent groin and knee injuries after a career that spanned success in Europe, a brief but impactful tenure in the NHL, and a Stanley Cup win with Colorado.

Pavel Francouz, the Avalanche netminder, dropped a bombshell in a recent chat with CT Sport. He’s hanging up his skates for good. The word from GM Chris MacFarland last month hinted this was coming. Groin and knee woes sidelined him for the 2023-24 season and messed up much of 2022-23. Francouz, hailing from Czechia, had a stint with the Avs that spanned four seasons.

Before the NHL spotlight, Francouz honed his skills overseas. His journey kicked off with HC Plzen, his hometown squad, in the 2008-09 Czech Extraliga season. It wasn’t until 2012-13, with HC LitvĂ­nov, that he really found his groove. Over three seasons, he was twice dubbed the Extraliga’s top goalie. His stats? Stellar. A .928 save percentage and 14 shutouts across 140 games. Come playoff time, he was even sharper, boasting a .949 SV%, 1.57 GAA, and six shutouts in 26 games. His crowning achievement was clinching a league championship in 2015.

Next up, the KHL called. Francouz inked a three-year deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk. There, he continued to impress, snagging Best Goaltender and First All-Team honors in the 2017-18 season. His performance was nothing short of brilliant, with a .946 SV%, 1.80 GAA, and five shutouts in 35 games. The 2018 Winter Olympics saw him as Czechia’s starting goalie. Despite a .905 SV% over six games, a medal eluded him.

After six seasons in Europe, Francouz made the leap to the NHL, signing with the Avs for the 2018-19 season. Most of that season saw him with AHL Colorado, but he secured the backup spot behind Philipp Grubauer for 2019-20. He proved his mettle, delivering a .923 SV% over 30 starts and four relief appearances. Yet, lower-body injuries struck, sidelining him for the entire COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. He bounced back as backup to Darcy Kuemper, contributing to the Avs’ Stanley Cup win with 21 regular-season and seven playoff appearances.

But, those injuries were relentless. They limited him to just 16 starts in 2022-23 and wiped out his current season, leading to his retirement at 33. Francouz’s NHL tenure may have been brief, but it was noteworthy. He boasted a .919 SV%, 2.49 GAA, and four shutouts in 64 starts and nine relief appearances. His record with Colorado? Impressive: 44-21-6, saving 25 goals above average over four seasons. Here’s to Francouz – a spectacular international career and a commendable NHL run. Wishing him all the best in whatever comes next.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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