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MHH's 2014-15 Avalanche Season Analysis: Part 6 - Varlamov

He was a Vezina finalist and barely missed the top-three in voting for the Hart last season. If the Avs want to succeed, they absolutely need Varly to be that guy again.

Harry How

Will Varlamov's play regress, and if so, by how much?


Significantly. Like he won't suddenly suck, but I'd expect him to lose .09 SV% or more from last season. He will still be quite good. Just not superhuman.


This is a toss up for me.  I could argue that he could never keep up his numbers, but in the same way, people said Rask couldn’t.  I just don’t know.  I think his numbers dip a bit but not back to his average as so many black swans around here want to say.  I think his average is somewhere between last years numbers and his past average.  I think if the defense improves, he can post similar numbers and be back in the Vezina discussion.


Nope. In Varly I trust.


I think it will but not by much. I think Varly is going to be a ~.922ish goalie this year, putting him back in the top 5 and serving as a big reason the Avs push for another division title and playoff appearance. I've always believed Varly to have elite ability and I believe its time he begin cementing his status as an elite netminder.


Last year's NHL average for a 40+ GP goalie was .917.  Varly's career average is .917.  He managed a .927 last year while facing a just absurd number of shots.  My guess is that he drops back into the .915 to .920 range, but my hope is that he faces fewer shots because of a better defense.  So, overall, I think he'll let in around the same number of goals without needing to be perpetually superhuman.


Varly's play will regress a little.  His play last year was pretty unsustainable, especially with the D what it was.  I am hopeful (but not holding my breath) that the defense will keep some of that rubber away from the net this year, and that will help his numbers out, but we will have to see.  Varly is a great goaltender, but leaning on him (and him alone) is a recipe for problems.


From what I have observed in training camp, I feel Varlamov’s play will be on par to that of last season. If there is a decline, it will be due to any nagging injuries that may occur (let’s not think of that ugly scenario).


I think Varly could easily back up his performance from last year but it is unlikely.  The issue is how much it affects the team in the standings. There's a rule of thumb that says 3 goals equals a win or a point or something,  which is convenient for sportswriters but isn't necessarily true.  If the team, defense and especially the forwards, can make his job a little easier then his regression won't be that painful.


A little.  Probably 0.905-0.910 S%, about 5-8 fewer wins.  I'm just hoping for an injury free season, honestly.


If it drops off, it won't do so significantly. I've always believed that Varlamov had the talent to be an elite goaltender in the league. Working with Allaire seems to have made it happen. I think we might even see another Vezina bid coming his way in the not so distant future. He's one of those freaky 'tenders who does better with more shots, so the fact the Avs will still give up a lot of shots against won't force a goaltending regression.