Colorado Avalanche: Does Johan Johansson Actually Upgrade Goalie Position?

Photo Credit: Harry Scull Jr/Buffalo News

The Colorado Avalanche and Buffalo Sabres made a minor trade on Friday, or at least they are trying too. News broke Friday morning that the teams had agreed upon a trade that included Sabres' goaltender Jonas Johansson.

Details on the trade have yet to emerge, but multiple sources have been able to confirm that it is a transaction waiting to happen.

Now, due to multiple players on the Boston Bruins heading to the COVID-19 list, the trade has been put on hold for the time being. The Bruins being the last team the Sabres played against, so now to prevent a spread to a third team, the move has been put on the back burner.

The trade was made to help beef up the goaltending position for Colorado, who certainly can use someone to take some of the pressure off of Philipp Grubauer, who is carrying a heavy workload this season.

Hunter Miska has been the main backup to Grubauer with Pavel Francouz yet to play this season after being placed on the Long-Term Injured Reserve list. The 25 year old, and former Mike Ritcher award finalist for top Division I goalie, has struggled in the opportunities he has gotten.

And saying that he has 'struggled' may not put enough emphasis on his play this season.

Miska has been one of the worst goalies in the league, statistically, in just five games played this season.

So naturally, almost anyone would be an upgrade at this point, right?

That may not be the case when it comes to Johansson, despite his surprisingly good pedigree. The Swedish born netminder was the sixth goalie selected in the 2014 draft, and was selected over some very notable names - Elvis Merzlikins, Ilya Sorokin, Kaapo Kahkonen, and Igor Shesterkin.

Not a bad tick to their resume.

Despite a huge frame standing at 6'5", Johansson hasn't been able to use it to his advantage. It's hard to put too much stock in his win/loss record, or even some of his other numbers due to being on such a bad Sabres team, but there isn't much to go on in to say that he will be a better solution than Miska at this point.

Hunter Miska


Jonas Johansson

.871 (64th)

5v5 SV%

.881 (61st)

-4.01 (51st)


-6.58 (59th)

.792 (50th)

5v5 HDSV%

.797 (44th)

-0.72 (31st)


-1.48 (43rd)

*Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. Rankings based on goalies with at least 200 minutes at 5v5 going into Friday night's games.

To help put this into perspective, there were only 65 goalies who met the criteria needed to make this list and Miska is currently 64th in save percentage. Johansson hasn't been too much better, coming in at 61st overall. 

So, if and when this trade goes through, did the Avalanche really upgrade the position? That'll be left to be seen but the numbers say no. Maybe a change of scenery that includes not playing for the worst team in the league will work in Johansson's favor.

For goaltenders, 25 years old isn't too old to rediscover yourself by any means.

But this one will have to be proven on the ice.

Avalanche Options Limited

Trades are going to be an interesting thing and we are seeing exactly why with this move. Moving from one team to another creates a potential domino effect that could have serious ramifications on the league. 

Thankfully they were able to find out about the breakout with the Bruins so that they can keep the trade on hold so the proper protocols could be put into place.

If the trade is put on a longer hold, then the Avalanche appear to be ready to turn to a different option behind Grubauer in Adam Werner.

A former fifth-round draft pick by the Avalanche in 2016, Werner has struggled since turning pro, posting a .903 save percentage in three years in the AHL. In four games this season he has posted just an .875 SV%.

Colorado is one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Final this season. They were last year as well until injuries at the goalie position derailed their dreams. If they can't find an answer behind Grubauer, they will have no choice but to continue the heavy usage of their netminder which is not ideal in a condensed schedule.

Do you believe that Johansson can be a suitable backup for the Avalanche? Or should they continue their search for another option? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link at the top and follow us on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.


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