As far as the Colorado Avalanche’s 2021 NHL Trade Deadline moves go, you could yearn for bigger moves. Beyond hoping for another impact skater, you could also argue that they could’ve gone bigger in net, rather than settling for Devan Dubnyk* and Jonas Johansson. But, with Philipp Grubauer now on the COVID protocol list (via Peter Baugh, among others), it’s that much easier to see why goalies were an area of emphasis for the Avalanche.
With Grubauer in COVID protocol, the Avalanche went with Dubnyk against the Blues on Wednesday.
Update: Dubnyk and the Avalanche built a 4-1 lead against the Blues, but then held on for dear life. Ultimately, the Avalanche ended up winning 4-3, as Dubnyk didn’t break from a strong Blues push in the third period.
Baugh notes that young defenseman Bowen Byram is also in COVID protocol for the Avalanche.
With Grubauer in COVID protocol, Avalanche goalie trades get tested vs. Blues
During the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Avalanche saw what could happen when their goalie depth fell apart. It wasn’t just Grubauer who got injured, as Pavel Francouz also missed time. Francouz won’t be able to return for the 2020-21 NHL season, so the Avs have been forced to go to Plan C, and beyond.
Should a legitimate Cup contender like the Avalanche have gone bigger* by trying to land someone shinier, like Jonathan Bernier? Considering Bernier’s recent injuries, might it have been a shaky idea anyway?
We’ll see. We’ll also see if Devan Dubnyk can perform at a higher level now that he’s playing on a dominant Avalanche team. It looks like he’ll get some chances to prove himself, especially if Grubauer needs some time to get back up to speed once he (hopefully) is healthy.
* – Er, they went big with Dubnyk in a literal sense, though. He’s apparently the tallest Avalanche goalie in franchise history.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.