The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed goaltender Justus Annunen to a two-year contract through the 2025-26 season.

Annunen, 24, has appeared in eight games for the Avalanche in 2023-24, recording a 5-2-1 record, a .926 SV%, 2.38 GAA with two shutouts. The netminder enters Tuesday having won each of his last four starts, posting a 1.25 GAA and a .959 SV% along with his two shutouts coming in that span. Annunen was recalled from the Colorado Eagles (AHL) for the second time this season on Feb. 3 and has remained with the organization’s parent club since. He’s registered a 14-5-4 record, a .908 SV% and a 2.65 GAA in 23 games with the Eagles this season.

Since beginning his second stint with the Avalanche this season, Annunen has turned in a 4-2-1 record to help position Colorado with the League’s eighth-lowest goals against per game average since Feb. 5 (2.68). He blanked the Chicago Blackhawks in consecutive starts on Feb. 29 and March 4 – both 5-0 Avalanche wins – to become the first rookie netminder in Avalanche/Nordiques history to record consecutive shutouts. His 37 saves in the March 4 clean sheet tied the franchise record for the most stops by a rookie goaltender in a shutout. The accomplishment made him just the seventh goaltender in NHL history to pitch his first two career shutouts against the same opponent, and the first since Montreal’s Mathieu Garon in 2000-01 against Atlanta. Annunen’s shutouts marked the first of a 123:24 scoreless streak that lasted from Feb. 29-March 12, the 20th-longest the NHL has seen this season and the third-longest by a rookie in franchise history.

“Justus is a hard-working young goaltender who has earned this opportunity to compete at the NHL level,” said Avalanche General Manager Chris MacFarland. “He has continued to improve and develop his game in the AHL and has played well in his apperances with the Avalanche.  We are excited to have him under contract for the next two seasons.”   

Selected by Colorado in the third round (64th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft, Annunen made his professional debut in North America with the Eagles during the 2020-21 season. He’s played in 114 regular-season AHL games for the Eagles from 2020-24 where he’s tallied a 60-29-19 record, a .905 SV%, 2.76 GAA and three shutouts. Annunen’s 24 victories in 2021-22 ranked tied for fourth in the AHL.

A native of Kempele, Finland, Annunen appeared in two games for the Avalanche in each of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 campaigns, including his NHL debut on Dec. 4, 2021 when he entered in relief. Two days later, Annunen won his first career start in Philadelphia to become the youngest Avalanche goalie to win his first start at 21 years, 270 days.

Prior to coming to North America, Annunen was a member of Finland’s Karpat program from 2016-21. He made his professional debut by playing in one Liiga game for Karpat in 2017-18, Finland’s highest professional league. In 49 regular-season Liiga games, Annunen compiled a 22-15-11 record with a .906 SV%, 2.18 GAA and seven shutouts. He also spent time with Hermes in the country’s second-tier pro league in 2018-19 and competed in the under-20 circuit from 2017-19.  

Internationally, Annunen represented Team Finland at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship where he started in six of the seven games and registered the showcase’s fourth-best SV% of .916 (min. five games played). Annunen also captured gold at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship in 2018, posting a perfect 6-0-0 record.