Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, we look at the man in the paint, the last line of defense, and the undisputed #1 goaltender inDenver: Semyon Varlamov.
Who: Semyon Varlamov
How He Came to Denver: Traded from the Washington Capitals for a 2012 first-round pick and either a 2012 or 2013 second-round pick.
What he’s done: Up until the deal that brought him to the Mile High City, Varlamov had done a whole lot of tantalizing and not much else. After being picked 23rd overall in 2006, he split time with a myriad of goaltenders – Jose Theodore, Michael Neuvirth, Braden Holtby – flashing his potential.
Post trade, he’s been bipolar. He’s looked brilliant at times but there have been stretches where he’s been benched in favor of veteran JS Giguere. Despite the inconsistency, he posted solid numbers during his first year with the team.
Last year’s debacle of a season is hard to judge because the team was so bad. His numbers (11-21-3, 3.02 GAA, .903 save percentage) were pretty bad but so was the Avalanche defense: the team finished fourth from last in goals against per game and 25th in shots against. A goaltender can only do so much when he’s facing a barrage of shots each and every night.
What he means to the team currently: He’s the last line of defense and someone the Avalanche will be counting upon heavily to help get the ship going in the right direction for the 2013/14 season.
He’s going to get the bulk of the starts again unless something goes totally awry and he’ll likely see a lot of rubber once more as the Avalanche did little to improve the defense and will be counting on youngsters from the prospect ranks to help improve the back end.
The Avalanche are counting on Varly to be their franchise netminder, especially given what they had to give up to get him, and can’t afford to get anything less than that level of play out of him. That might not be fair to expect out of the 25-year-old but those are the circumstances.
What to expect: Though fans and pundits alike may not be expecting much out of this team, Varlamov will still have high expectations fall onto him because of the cost of bringing him toColorado and his status as the number one goaltender.
He’ll get the bulk of the starts again – in the 55-60 range, maybe a little more – whether he’s consistent or not. He flashed dominant ability the last two years in the face of shot after shot but he needs to finally put it all together if the Avs want to show big signs of improvement this season.
Look for Varly to come closer to his 2011/12 numbers: 57 games played, 25-26-4, somewhere in the neighborhodd of a 2.50 GAA and .905-.910 save percentage.
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