The Colorado Avalanche have been playing without their number one goalie for some time now. That came to an end last night, as Semyon Varlamov took back control of his crease. Varlamov didn’t have to stand on his head like the last couple of years, as the shots against have been cut down by quite a bit.
Last night’s game saw the Avalanche skate to a 4 – 1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, only allowing 20 shots against, 19 of which Varlamov stopped steadily in his return to the lineup.
Avs Need Varlamov to Step Up
Most of Colorado’s losses have come by just one goal, you have to think that turns around in their favor now that Varlamov is healthy and looking sharp again. The win against Winnipeg ended a franchise-high 7 game road trip, finishing with a decent 4 and 3 record.
Coming home now for two games before heading out on the road again, Colorado needs to find some consistency in their game. And that all starts with their star goalie. If Varlamov can shake off his bad start and is fully recovered from his groin injury, the Avalanche have a chance at steering this ship around.
A number one goalie such as Varly can win any team games on his own, and with Colorado’s offense clicking, I’d bet on a lot more wins coming than going the Avs way.
In many ways Varlamov is the Avalanche backbone. He needs to stay strong and step up like he always does to help his team play the way they are capable of.
The Goalie Situation Moving Forward
Colorado’s goalie situation moving forward could be interesting to keep an eye on. With Varlamov back and in charge, Reto Berra playing extremely well in his absence(minus a couple games), and Calvin Pickard, who is a top-notch prospect currently dominating the AHL, the Avs are sitting pretty in the goaltending department.
Could we potentially see one of them go in a trade to improve other areas of the team? Varlamov is a keeper, no pun intended, so that leaves Berra and Pickard. For me, it’s an easy decision to rank Berra third amongst these guys. So, you then have to consider Pickard’s potential going forward for the organization, if Varlamov is going to be the number one guy, Pickard probably won’t want to play bench warmer.
There are multiple possibilities. Even a scenario of perhaps a rotating tandem of Varlamov and Pickard in the future to satisfy both players, while possessing a great 1a, 1b situation(my preference). Obviously that would mean trading Berra, though the Avalanche would absolutely get better return for Pickard. That’s what you call a Pickard pickle.
It’s very interesting to think about, I am not saying anything will happen however, as we could see the same three guys battling at next season’s training camp. For now, Varlamov is the main man, and will continue to be, and hopefully bring the Avalanche back into playoff contention.
One thing is for sure, everyone’s glad to have him back.
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