The Colorado Avalanche have watched a once-promising season go horribly wrong, as injuries and poor performances have doomed the team since the season’s halfway point. Backup (or now starting) goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned a few heads recently for calling out teammates for a lack of focus. While Giguere has backed up his comments with a strong finish to the season his tandem partner Semyon Varlamov continues to struggle. While there are few chances for Varlamov to turn things around before the season ends, the Avalanche will need him to bounce back next season if they hope to have a better end result.
Varlamov allowed four goals on 24 shots in a Friday night loss to the Edmonton Oilers, his first game back after battling injury. He has looked solid at times this season, and given the performance in front of him it’s hard to place the blame for this season entirely on his shoulders. The former Washington Capitals standout has lost four of his last five starts, while allowing four goals in three of those contests. With little scoring support to speak of, the need for Varlamov to be at the top of his game is even more important. He won 26 games for Colorado last season while posting a 2.59 goals-against average. This season he has struggled to record 10 wins, and is currently sporting a career-worst 3.06 goals-against average.
The Avalanche are still rebuilding for the future and have a great collection of young offensive talent in Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene. Giguere and Varlamov are both set to return next season, and should be key pieces in helping the team return to glory. Now that Giguere has elevated his game, it would be great to see Varlamov get a few signature wins to finish out the season.