The Colorado Avalanche have a hard decision to make next year regarding their number two goalie. It’s been fun to see Calvin Pickard beaming up the depth chart as he is. But will it be Pickard or Reto Berra that will hold down the back-up role in the NHL?
A very entertaining goalie to watch, Pickard is making a very strong case as to why he should be in the big show instead of Berra. Pickard was called up a few times, posting a very impressive .932 sv% and a GAA of 2.35 in a total of 16 NHL games with the Avalanche.
I don’t doubt that Pickard is ready for the NHL, but will playing backup to Semyon Varlamov help or hinder his development?
Pros and Cons for Pickard to Stay in the NHL
The biggest pro that jumps out to you is the tutelage Pickard would receive under Francois Allaire and Patrick Roy if he stays up in the NHL. Colorado would also instantly have much better overall goaltending. Keeping “Picks”(as he is known) could possibly create a strong 1a 1b goalie tandem with Varlamov for the Avalanche. The only con for Pickard starting with the Avalanche in the NHL is purely the amount ice time he’d receive. However, that only con is a big one.
There’s no doubt he would be taking a back seat to Varlamov, making him a backup goalie playing minimum minutes. On the other hand, Pickard’s ice time would be dramatically increased down in San Antonio (Colorado’s new AHL affiliate) since he’d be the undisputed number 1 goalie.
Handle With Care
Bottom line is that Pickard is not only Colorado’s best goalie prospect, he is beaming up the entire depth chart while solidifying himself as one of the Avs best prospects, period.
I believe it would be best for Pickard’s growth to see as much ice-time as he can. And that means playing down in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage. If Varlamov get’s injured or needs a break, the Avalanche can always come calling.
Management will have to handle this situation with care because if they do, the Colorado Avalanche could have two extremely good goaltenders at their disposal.
Here is one of the nicest saves you’ll ever see. Pickard is the real deal folks.
The fans have spoken. Lake Erie Monsters Calvin Pickard diving save is #SCnumber1, with 55% of the vote.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 2, 2015
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble