Colorado Avalanche: 4 Players the Team Must Unload

Jan 2, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin (32) defends against Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin (33) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin (32) defends against Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin (33) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Semyon Varlamov

Position: Goalie

Age: 28

Height: 6’2

Weight: 209 lbs

Catches: Left

Contract:  $5.9 million cap hit through 2020

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Semyon Varlamov — you either love him or hate him. Me, I’m not a big fan. He’s way overpriced. He “earned” his fat, $5.9 million salary after that golden Why Not Us season when he stole the Central Division with his play. Neither before nor since has Varlamov been a $6-million goalie.

The thing is, Varlamov is so inconsistent. He can be capable of a 51-save shutout, and he can let three goals in on 11 shots. His groin is also a constant issue — usually after one of those high-shooting games. Then he usually comes back with a .75 save percentage kind of a game.

The Colorado Avalanche have simply invested too much money in a player who can’t reliably be their savior. His current save percentage is .901.

Besides getting rid of that inflated salary, the Avalanche would do better to acknowledge Calvin Pickard as the starter and start training his backup, most likely Spencer Martin. If the team wants to get younger, they should do so at this position, too.

Scenario: Because of the cap hit and term, Colorado’s options for moving Varlamov are limited. The Avalanche’s best hope is finding a team that’s in desperate need of a goalie, especially as the playoffs come closer. Having to retain salary is another reality even in this situation.

The other really good hope is exposing him in the expansion draft. The Knights’ George McPhee is the one who drafted Semyon Varlamov while with the Washington Capitals. Maybe he’d be inclined to give the goalie another shot with his new team. It probably depends on what other goalies are available.

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In the unlikely even that the Colorado Avalanche could completely unload these four players — including their entire salary — that would free up over $17 million more in cap space. That’s a lot of money the team would have at their disposal this summer to pick up some free agents.

However, even if Colorado could only get rid of a couple players and/or had to retain some salary, they would still be in better shape. It’s important to free up roster spots for younger players, both already in the system and that they can either sign or trade for. Plus, you never know — the Avalanche might be able to get something decent for one of those players, putting them in a good position moving forward.

By Nadia Archuleta for Mile High Sticking