Colorado Avalanche: Time for the Philipp Grubauer Experiment

It’s time for the Colorado Avalanche to start leaning more heavily on goalie Philipp Grubauer while Semyon Varlamov is in a slump.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov hasn’t been good. He’s allowed 21 goals since shutting out the Detroit Red Wings on December 2.

Varlamov has played five games in that time, making his goals against average since the shutout 4.2. You want to think the Avs have a high-octane offense, but it’s a tall order to expect to score five games per because your goalie is letting in an average of four.

In those games, Colorado has gone 1-4-0. Varlamov has been chased twice from his net.

I’m not going to suggest Semyon Varlamov is fully to blame for those losses. Heaven knows the defense hasn’t been good enough in front of him. However, defense has ever been the Achilles heel for the modern inception of this team. You don’t sign on as a Colorado Avalanche goalie if you’re not ok with that.

It’s time for the Philipp Grubauer Experiment.

Now, Grubauer is already scheduled to be in goal tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens. Coach Jared Bednar has been rotating goalies recently. However, Varlamov has still been getting more starts, 23 total to Grubauer’s 13.

While the plan is supposed to be to play either the rested goalie or the hot goalie, I’d like to see Grubauer finish out the home stand no matter what the results of tomorrow’s game are.

The Colorado Avalanche have a back-to-back to finish the week before Christmas break, and I’d expect Varlamov to play the second game. However, I’d like to see Grubaeur play two of the three remaining games of December.

It’s not that the German goalie is a better goalie. In both save percentage (.913 to .897) and goals against average (2.79 to 3.22), Varlamov has better stats. However, in the most recent games, Grubauer has been better.

What’s more, getting a few more starts for Grubauer would get him more comfortable playing Colorado’s brand of hockey (see above comment about not having adequate defense.) And it would allow the Avs defense to get used to what they can expect from Grubauer.

After all, the ostensible plan is to part ways with Varlamov at the end of the season. His contract will be up, and he’ll be turning 31 in April. He’s a good goalie, and a team might be looking to throw some money his way even though he’s inconsistent.

I wouldn’t see Colorado signing him to a deal. So the future is Grubi, and we might as well see what that’s going to look like.