One of the greatest weaknesses of the 2010-2011 Colorado Avalanche team was the lack of quality production from goaltenders. Craig Anderson (the team MVP in 2010) regressed substantially and was traded to the Ottawa Senators. Brian Elliot and Peter Budaj played hard, but were unable to stop the team's slide down the standings. The front office's declared goal is to improve the goaltending situation this offseason through either free agency or via a trade.
Cue the surprise: top free agent goalie Tomas Vokoun appears to be a serious target for Colorado starting July 1.
Even more surprising? Vokoun appears to prefer Colorado as a destination.
Vokoun, who turns 35 on July 2, has long been one of the top goalies in the league. He has consistently put up elite numbers while playing behind poor defenses with the Florida Panthers. The past four seasons, he has averaged .923 SV% and 2.47 GAA while facing 32 shots per game. As a team last year, Avalanche goalies were guilty of a miserable .895 SV% and a 3.32 GAA, all while allowing 31.6 shots per game..
If you simply substitute Vokoun's Goals Against Average in for 60 games last season, it's an improvement of 51 goals over the course of the season. The addition of Vokoun would give the Avalanche an essentially even goal differential, even with the team's extremely poor health last season. Granted, the numbers don't play like that over the course of a season. But there is no denying that Vokoun would be a massive improvement in goal.
As one of the few teams that have a severe need at goalie this offseason AND the cap space to get a major deal done, it's good to see the Avalanche front office taking their most glaring weakness seriously. It's even better to see a top free agent target cite Colorado as a place he would like to sign and play, something that has been missing from the franchise since the start of the salary cap era.
This is by no means a done deal; but the thought of an elite goalie such as Vokoun coming to Colorado is no longer a pipe dream. Avalanche fans could be in for an exciting offseason.