Alexandar Georgiev wasn’t supposed to play more than three-quarters of the Avalanche’s games again this season. But the team has no choice.

After appearing in 62-of-82 games in 2022-23, Georgiev again finds himself among the most overworked goalies in the NHL. Through 40 games, Colorado’s top netminder has started 32 games and has played nearly 150 minutes more than any other goalie in the league. He has seen ice time in 33 after replacing backup Ivan Prosvetov midway through Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Florida Panthers.

Prosvetov, who hadn’t played in three weeks, allowed three goals on the first four shots he faced and four on 13 overall before getting yanked by head coach Jared Bednar.

“I certainly didn’t like the fourth one so I wanted to give our team a chance,” Bednar said on Saturday, referencing a harmless shot from the point by Oliver Ekman-Larsson that beat Prosvetov.

It’s no longer valid to question Bednar for overworking his starter. The onus is on general manager Chris MacFarland and the front office to acquire help at the goaltending position. Without Pavel Francouz, a more-than-capable tandem goalie, whose season ended before it began in October, the team is thin between the pipes.

The goaltending trade market is as volatile as it’s ever been. Five teams are carrying three goalies, a standard we’ve never seen in the NHL. And many teams — most of which are looking to contend for the Stanley Cup — are seeking help in that position. A trade might not be on the table, at least not anytime soon. But the Avs need to give someone else an opportunity.

Perhaps Justus Annunen is due for another shot? The 23-year-old Finnish goalie whom the team has been developing for several years is back from an injury and has stopped 67-of-72 shots for the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles since Christmas (2-0-1).

“We’ll see. We’ll talk about that,” Bednar said when asked indirectly about giving another goalie in the organization a chance. “We’re in a stretch where there are no easy games coming up. There are no easy games, period, but especially in the stretch we’re in.”

The Avs’ next three are against the reigning Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins, the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights and the high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs, who always play the Avs hard.

Whichever way you spin it, Bednar doesn’t have trust in his second goalie, and he’s completely in the right for overplaying Georgiev. Like backups not named Francouz in the past, Prosvetov has shown some flashes of being a capable NHLer but the consistency isn’t there.

That’s why Georgiev has played in 10 consecutive games and started nine straight before his relief appearance. Outside of an injury, there likely isn’t a scenario where he’s not starting each of the next three games as well.

Georgiev hasn’t played nearly as well as he did last year. And that’s part of the problem. In mid-December, Prosvetov played in four consecutive games — three of which he started — to give Georgiev a mental break. The Avs’ starter was overplayed to that point and needed time off and it resulted in Prosvetov starting, and losing, against the Central Division-leading Winnipeg Jets on the road.

With tandem help, Georgiev’s stats will surely improve. Every time he’s returned from a break, his game has improved.

Be it Hunter Miska, Jonas Johansson, or a younger less-experienced Annunen, Prosvetov is yet another in a string of backups that haven’t worked for this club in recent years.

It’s time for a change. And soon. Each passing week is roughly another three games for the league’s most-used netminder — someone Colorado needs sharp and well-rested when the postseason comes around.