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Will the real Semyon Varlamov please stand up?

Aug 19, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT

Semyon Varlamov, Zach Parise AP

One area the Colorado Avalanche aren’t particularly stressed out about is in goal. With Semyon Varlamov locked in as the No. 1 guy and Jean-Sebastien Giguere backing him up, they’re all set there.

The question is: What version of Varlamov is the real one? Fans in Colorado have seen two different performances from him during his two seasons in Denver.

Take a look at Varlamov’s numbers over the last three seasons (one with Washington) and you’ll be left wondering the same thing.

2010-11:  11-9-5    .924 SV%  2.23 GAA (Washington)

2011-12:  26-24-3  .913 SV%  2.59 GAA

2012-13:  11-21-3  .903 SV%  3.02 GAA

Neither season with the Avalanche is overly inspiring but the work he’d done in Washington was enough to inspire GM Greg Sherman to give up a first-round pick for him.  His save percentage numbers in the ’11-’12 season don’t even crack the Top 20 in the league and he was outplayed by Giguere.

Last season was a disaster all around for the Avs and was highlighted by the terrible play of their defense. It’s difficult to be hard on Varlamov for that, but his meager numbers from the previous season took a further beating.

That’s cause for concern, but the Avs may have addressed that by hiring Patrick Roy as their new coach. You’d have to think if anyone can help a goalie figure out their game it’d be a Hall of Famer of Roy’s ilk. After all, Varlamov is still young at age 25 and headed into his sixth NHL season.

If Roy can help Varlamov out, the Avs won’t have to sweat out goaltending at all. If not, 21 year-olds Sami Aittokallio and Calvin Pickard will be waiting in the AHL for an opportunity. Colorado is hoping it doesn’t have to come to that.

  1. jernster21 - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The Avs also hired Francois Allaire as their goalie coach so hopefully that proves to be a difference maker. Athletically, Varlamov has to be near the top of goalies in the NHL but that athleticism has turned sporadic at times, putting him out of position, and the puck in the net. If he can work out is positioning and consistency I think he has the chance to be a pretty good goalie.

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    this season might be varlamov’s last as an av if he can’t find a way to improve his numbers, regardless of the defenseman that are playing in front of him. probably stating the obvious, but i don’t think coach roy will be very sympathetic towards underperforming goaltenders. i kind of think that eventually he will use his stature to bring in someone a little more on the “elite” side of the spectrum, especially if the offense is productive as expected.

  3. avfanforlife - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    I’m tossing aside last year’s (and previous year) everything. Sacco had no idea how to motivate and get his players to perform. David Jones was an example, among many. (Sorry he is gone, although Tanguay is back – woohoo) Av’s D was constantly leaving their goaltenders high and dry – pointing at the puck and other players as if saying “you got that one”. That ends this year. Varly’s numbers will undoubtedly improve this season and the defense know they have a reputation now that they need to turn around.

  4. raiderssuckball - Aug 19, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Hey Varly, Sami is knocking at the door!

  5. subliminalnoize - Aug 19, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Varly has been streaky and injury prone since his start in D.C.. I was sad to see him leave D.C. but he has since shown why he was traded since.(Neuvy and Holts still have a lot to prove) Either way when healthy the guy shows some serious promise. Now with probably the best goalie ever as his head coach, and his mentor(Roy) now mentoring Varlamov, there is potential to have him become one of the most elite goalies in the league.

  6. wethog66 - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    The real Varley cannot stand up because he has another groin strain.

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