Colorado Avalanche lands goalkeeper Jonas Johansson in trade with Buffalo Sabers


DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche acquired Jonas Johansson from the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday in a bid to shore up their shaky goalkeeping support.

The Sabers received the sixth-round pick from Colorado in a trade agreed to a day earlier. The Sabers had to wait for COVID-19 test results after the Boston Bruins, their most recent opponent, brought four players into NHL protocol on Friday.

Buffalo also had to wait for goalie Michael Houser, who was signed Friday, to clear waivers to avoid having to call a minor league goalie.

The Avalanches have relied heavily on starter Philipp Grubauer this season, with reserve Pavel Francouz sidelined with a lower body injury. Hunter Miska has replaced Grubauer on occasion, but he has struggled and has an average of 4.16 goals against.

Miska was recently sent to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League, with Adam Werner retired from the Eagles.

Johansson is 0-5-1 in seven games for the Sabers this season, averaging 3.79 goals against and a .884 save percentage and has an overall record of 1-8-2. The 25-year-old was selected in the third round by Buffalo in 2014.

He received more playing time with the Sabers after starter Linus Ullmark suffered a lower body injury last month. Ullmark is expected to miss a few more weeks.

Grubauer has been spectacular despite the heavy workload. He is the first Colorado goalkeeper to start at least 20 of the team’s first 25 games since Semyon Varlamov in 2012-13.

Grubauer, 29, already has 17 victories. His career best is 18, which he has had in each of the last two seasons. The 1.82 goal average against Grubauer is the first among goalkeepers. He also has four shutouts.

“It’s amazing to have that reliable goalie at the back,” forward Tyson Jost said. “He’s been great all year. We need that from him to continue throughout the year.”

Colorado’s defense has also been a great help. The team has limited its opponents to fewer than 30 shots in a franchise record of 18 straight games. In their last six games, the Avalanches have outscored the teams by a combined 259-116 margin.

The Avalanches are 18-8-2 midseason. His .679 percentage is the third-best mark at the midpoint since the team moved to Denver.

The Sabers are in liquidation mode while on an 0-11-2 streak and in danger of extending their playoff drought to an NHL-record 10th season.

This is expected to be the first of many trades for Buffalo. It comes three days since first-year general manager Kevyn Adams hinted a roster reshuffle was coming after firing coach Ralph Krueger.

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