Avalanche Poll: Carey Price Replaces Semyon Varlamov


Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov is beloved by Avs fans. In the 2013-14 season he all but carried the team on his back, and he earned a stellar reputation. However, watching the Montreal Canadiens-Tampa Bay Lightning series, I witnessed a consistently stellar goalie in Montreal’s Carey Price.

Whenever you’re talking Montreal goalies, and you’re an Avalanche fan, your mind is inevitably going to turn to “Le Trade,” that time then-Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy lost his temper and demanded a trade from the team. And Montreal’s management, rather than placate the superstar, made it happen.

Since then, the Montreal Canadiens haven’t even appeared in a Stanley Cup Final, much less won a Cup. Indeed, no Canadian team has won a Cup since Patrick Roy backstopped the Canadiens in 1993 to victory. Roy, on the other hand, has won two.

That’s a simplification of facts and not the purpose of this article. Rather, I want to talk about the current Montreal goalie, who in some cases has better stats than Roy did in his career. And I want to ask Avalanche fans what they would give up to have another Canadiens goalie come to the team and potentially backstop them to Cup victory.

NB: If you are a Montreal Canadiens fan, welcome! However, this proposal isn’t really for you. Habs fans weren’t the ones stupid enough to give up a stellar goalie the first time, and they’ve already made it clear on Mile High Sticking’s twitter that they think the idea is laughable this time around!

Carey Price

I don’t think we can call Carey Price a future Hall of Famer just yet. He is a solid goalie for sure, and he’s done something Patrick Roy never did — win Olympic gold. However, Price hasn’t earned a spot amongst the greats in the Hockey Hall of Fame just yet.

In eight seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, price has played 435 regular season games and 54 playoff games. His regular season statistics are phenomenal — 223-153-50. Price has recorded a career .919 save percentage and 2.44 goals against average.

In Price’s eight-season career, he’s taken Montreal to the playoffs seven times. He’s backstopped them to the Conference Finals twice. He’s gone 23-27 with a save percentage of .912 and a 2.62 goals against average.

It’s hard to match Roy’s statistics because he played in the time of ties not the shootout, but he went 551-315-131 in 1,029 regular season games, with the third number representing ties. His playoff expertise becomes more obvious in those statistics — 151-94 in 247 playoff games, 2.30 goals against average and .916 save percentage.

Roy’s not coming back as a goalie, though (except in the Alumni Game next year against the Detroit Red Wings). So let’s look at the current Avalanche goalie.

Semyon Varlamov

Avalanche goale Semyon Varlamov is easily one of the most popular players on the team right now, largely because of how he played in the 2013-14 season. He appeared in 63 games for the Avalanche, going an impressive 41-14-6. He had a .927 save percentage and 2.41 goals against average. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

Taken over the course of his career, Varlamov’s statistics are a little more modest — 136-92-32 in 267 regular season games. His save percentage is .918 and his goals against average 2.55. That’s a smidge below Price. (223-153-50, .919 save percentage and 2.44 goals against average.)

Playoffs-wise, Varlamov isn’t even close. He’s only seen playoff action in three seasons, never going farther than the second round. In 26 games he’s gone 13-13 with a .915 save percentage and 2.57 goals against average.

Le Trade 2.0

Would you trade Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene for Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price?  Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

In 1995, the Canadiens packaged Patrick Roy with captain Mike Keane in return for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Ručinský and Andrei Kovalenko. Needless to say, Roy alone should have gone a lot higher than those three players Colorado sent. That said, the current Montreal Canadiens management is highly unlikely to make a mistake like that again.

So, what would it take to get Carey Price out of Montreal and into burgundy and blue? As an Avalanche fan, would you even want to try? Or does it depend on the terms of the trade?

For instance, a straight trade, Price for Varlamov, would be ideal, and I think a lot of Avs fans would go for that. They’d probably be willing to package a few “freebies” such as back up Reto Berra and a couple defensemen such as Nick Holden and Nate Guenin.

How about a slightly more painful trade such as Price for Varlamov and an offensive prospect like Joey Hishon or Conner Bleackley?

Let’s hit where it really hurts — Price for a core player like Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon. Might have to send Calvin Pickard because, you know, the Habs need a goalie. Or we might even have to send one of those core players with Varlamov himself.

Would it be worth it? Carey Price for Semyon Varlamov and either Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon? Conner Bleackley or Joey Hishon could come up and fill the forward spot, and we’d have Price in net. Carey Price — with the best-ever goalie, Patrick Roy, and that man’s goalie coach, Francois Allaire… The Stanley Cup would be coming to Colorado again, Avs Nation.

But would we do it?

NB #2: I’ve gone on record as saying I would not trade Matt Duchene for Jesus Himself, so I certainly wouldn’t trade him for Price. I’m in the Varlamov and a prospect camp.

What do you think, Avs Nation?

Next: Importance of a Stellar Goalie in Colorado

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