The Avalanche acquired Semyon Varlamov over the summer at the 2011 Free Agent Frenzy. This 23 year old Russian played with the Washington Capitals last season where he played a total of 27 games. During those games he gathered some pretty impressive stats: 11-9-5, .924 SV% and 2.23 GAA ranking him 4th in the league on GAA. He has played a total of 59 regular season games and 19 playoff games in his 3 years with the Capitals. But is he starting goalie material? The Avalanche front office and coaching staff seem to think so. They have already made it fairly clear he will be the starting goalie this season and for the season opener against the Detroit Red Wings Sat Oct 8th with Giguere as the back-up and mentor.
His stats look rather impressive, but when you only play fewer games in a season it’s easier to have better stats. The question becomes can he maintain that over 30+ games? He was given the chance by the Capitals twice to challenge for the starting goalie position and both times lost out mostly due to injuries.
From looking at the preseason it may seem Varlamov is having some difficulties in the crease where he was for 4 of the 6 games. The Avalanche ended the preseason 3-3-0 with the help of Jean-Sebastien Giguere winning both the games he was in net for and Varlamov getting a win at the Frozen Fury in Las Vegas. This preseason also included a rather embarrassing loss to the LA Kings 6-0. Granted those losses are not purely his fault, the team in front of him needs to step up their game and work on keeping the puck on the other side of the ice more and the opponents from setting up goals, but that’s another post all together. Was it nerves from playing with a new team where the fans turned on all 3 of the goal tenders from the previous season? Or perhaps he’s a little rusty and trying to get back into the groove of things.
If he stays focused, healthy and really takes in what Giguere has to offer with his years of experience, I feel he could maintain the stats and be a great goal tender. What do the rest of the fans think?