Calvin Pickard: Avalanche Star of the Week


Goalie Calvin Pickard came out of nowhere for the Colorado Avalanche. Ok, technically he came from the Lake Erie Monsters, but for the most part no one was talking about him until he came in as backup for goalie Reto Berra. Even so, it wasn’t until Pickard had to actually step in as backup just over two minutes into that game that he became a sensation.

Every Sunday during the post and off season we’re going to take a look at different Colorado Avalanche players and the contributions they made to the team. So, let’s take a look at what rookie goalie Calvin Pickard did for the Avs.

Calvin Pickard Statistics

As a rookie goalie, Calvin Pickard started 13 games and played in an additional three for a total of 895 minutes. In those games he went 6-7-3 with a 2.35 goals against average and .932 save percentage (the best on the team).

One of the biggest topics last season was the big shots differential for the Colorado Avalanche — they allowed many more shots than they took (433 more shots, to be exact). Pickard faced 511 shots. By facing 511 shots, that means Calvin Pickard was facing an average of 34 shots per 60 minutes. Yet teams had to take an average 14.6 shots to make a goal on Pickard.

Pickard allowed a total of 35 goals during the season. Of those, 16 came at even strength and 12 were power play goals. He gave up three overtime goals, and four empty net goals were scored during his games. The last, of course, is an indication of the Colorado Avalanche’s penchant for attempting last-minute rallies.

Pickard saw action in three shootouts, against the Winnipeg Jets, Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes. Pickard went 2-1 in the shootout with a .692 save percentage. He faced 13 attempts and made nine saves.

Calvin Pickard statistics from Sporting Charts:

Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard’s statistics. Photo from Sporting Charts.

Calvin Pickard Role

Strictly speaking, Calvin Pickard wasn’t meant to have a role with the Colorado Avalanche. He was just supposed to serve as Reto Berra’s backup when starting goalie Semyon Varlamov started suffering from groin injuries. However, in his first-ever call up on October 16, 2014, Berra got injured less than three minutes into the game against the Ottawa Senators. Pickard had to go into his first NHL game as injury replacement — a tough assignment for any goalie.

Senators offensive defenseman Erik Karlsson “welcomes” Calvin Pickard to the NHL:

Pickard continued having tough assignments throughout his rookie season. He came to the team in those terrible early games when the Avalanche were hemorrhaging shots and so not scoring. However, as Pickard faced a plethora of shots, he got stronger and stronger. Eventually, he became this season’s clutch goalie, and there started to be some question about who Varlamov’s backup would turn out to be.

Head coach Patrick Roy decided to keep Pickard with the Lake Erie Monsters because he wanted the young goalie to get more playing time. As he pointed out, he learned a lot himself from having to play a lot. However, coach Roy has announced openly that next season’s training camp will be a tryout for both Berra and Pickard for the #2 spot.

Calvin Pickard’s Contributions

Calvin Pickard is decent-sized at 6-foot, 202 pounds. The current trend in NHL goal tending has gone soccer style, as in favoring tall, lanky goalies. However, Pickard showed that his goal tending instincts and work ethic are more than enough to “compensate” for lacking a few inches in height.

Pickard’s record wasn’t fantastic, but then, the Colorado Avalanche’s record wasn’t good either. Pickard came into a tough situation as a goalie, and he held his own. Early in the season, as he was still trying to get his NHL legs, it was ridiculous how hard the team was asking him to work. Talk about a trial by fire — in only his second-ever NHL game, first NHL start, Pickard faced 36 shots by the Montreal Canadiens. The Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes all shelled Calvin Pickard with over 40 shots.

Calvin Pickard robs superstar Sidney Crosby:

That said, Pickard is sure to work hard over the summer. He’s got the talent and the work ethic — not to mention stone cold nerves — to be an NHL goal tender.

Next: Avs Player Profile: Ryan Wilson

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