The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed goaltender Pavel Francouz to a two-year contract through the 2021-22 campaign.
Francouz, 29, has a 14-5-3 record in 24 appearances with the Avalanche this season and ranks sixth in the league in save percentage (.923) and 10th in goals-against average (2.44). The Plzen, Czech Republic, native posted a career-best five-game winning streak from Nov. 7-Dec. 7 and went 9-0-1 from Nov. 7-Dec. 23, the longest stretch without a regulation loss by an Avs netminder since Semyon Varlamov in 2013-14 (11-0-5).
"We are excited to have Pavel under contract for another two seasons," said Avalanche Executive Vice President & General Manager Joe Sakic. "He has been an important part of our team this year and has performed really well, especially when we needed it most. He is a hard-working professional, a great teammate and has earned his opportunity in the NHL."
Francouz played his first season of professional hockey in North America in 2018-19, posting a 27-17-3 record in 49 regular-season games for the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles. He recorded a 2.68 goals-against average, and his .918 save percentage was tied for fifth in the league. Francouz finished the campaign with three shutouts and backstopped the Eagles to a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He also appeared in two contests for the Avalanche last season, registering a 1.97 goals-against average and .943 save percentage, both in relief appearances. Francouz was tabbed to represent the Eagles at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic but did not participate due to injury.
Before signing with Colorado as a free agent on May 2, 2018, Francouz spent three seasons with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL in Russia. He had a 15-11-5 record with a 1.80 goals-against average and a league-best .946 save percentage in 2017-18, earning KHL First All-Star Team honors. He compiled a 32-27-11 record, a 1.73 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage in 83 career regular-season contests and was 8-9 in 18 career postseason games with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.
Prior to the KHL, Francouz played three campaigns with HC Litvinov of the Czech Extraliga, where he registered a 2.23 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage in 140 outings and twice was the recipient of the league's top goaltender award (2012-13 and 2014-15).
Internationally, Francouz represented the Czech Republic at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia, the sixth time he has represented his country at the annual event. He appeared in three games during the 2019 tournament, posting shutouts in both of his starts while finishing with a 0.77 goals-against average and .957 save percentage. He played for the Czech Republic at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, finishing 2-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. The 6-foot, 179-pound netminder also suited up for his country at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.