Sat, Mar 20, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Colorado Avalanche have added goalie Jonas Johansson in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres. The move was made in an effort by the Avalanche to improve their situation at the backup goalie position. The deal was announced this afternoon.
In return for Johansson, the Sabres acquired the sixth-round draft pick of the Avalanche. The trade was agreed to between the teams on Friday but not announced until Saturday. The Sabres could not announce the trade until they received clearance following contract tracing performed by the league.
The Sabres’ most recent opponent, the Boston Bruins, have had two of their upcoming games suspended due to four players entering the COVID-19 league protocols. On top of that, the Sabres needed to wait for Michael Houser to clear waivers. Houser, a goalie, had recently been signed by Buffalo.
The Avalanche have started Philipp Grubauer for most of their games this season. Backup Pavel Francouz has been dealing with a lower-body injury. Their other backup goalie, Hunter Miska, has not played well. Miska has played to a 4.16 goals-against average this year.
Miska was recently optioned to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League. He was replaced on the roster with Adam Werner.
Johansson went 0-5-1 in seven games at the NHL level with a 3.79 goals-against average for the Sabres this year. He also has a .884 save percentage. In his brief career, Johansson has a 1-8-2 record. He was picked in the third round of the NHL Draft by Buffalo in 2014. He is just 25.
“We’ll look at him here first and make a decision on what our plan is for him,” coach Jared Bednar said following the Avalanche 6-0 win over Minnesota today. Grubauer had 31 saves in the victory. “He’s been on a steady progression getting better and on a good development path.”
Johansson was receiving extended time in the net for Buffalo because of an injury to starter Linus Ullmark. Ullmark is reportedly going to miss at least another month.
Grubauer has been spectacular for the Avalanche even with the increased workload. He is the first goaltender to start 20 of the team’s first 25 games since Semyon Varlamov did so during the 2012-2013 season.
Grubauer already has 18 wins this season, which ties his career-high. The shutout this afternoon was his fifth of the season, the most since Varlamov also recorded five during the 2014-2015 season.
“It's awesome to have that reliable goaltender in the back end there," forward Tyson Jost said. “He’s been great all year. We need that from him to continue throughout the year.”
The defensive unit for Colorado has been downright dominant this season, holding opponents to less than 30 shots in 18 straight games before the Wild broke that streak today. Following today’s win, the Avalanche are now 19-8-2 on the season, good for 40 points. They are three points out of first place behind the Vegas Golden Knights in the West Division. They have won six straight games.