Patrick Roy announced after the win over the Stars on Saturday (get bent, Dallas) that the team will be recalling Calvin Pickard shortly. He'll go with the team on the road trip and is scheduled to start the second half of the back to back.
What that means for Reto Berra is some AHL time. Has the team changed its mind about exposing him to waivers? Nope - it's a two-week conditioning stint.
What the team has done here is some fairly clever manipulation of the rules to allow them to get the guy they actually want on the back to back without exposing Berra to waivers. They should DEFINITELY not use Varly in both games of the back to back, and we know they aren't interested in seeing Reto Berra play NHL games right now, so this makes that happen without possibly losing a player they are obviously invested in.
It's the smartest possible pure business move from the team's perspective. It's also pretty concerning about what this team expects from Berra.
Who the hell is going to claim him right now? This is a goalie in his 28-year-old season with an .897 career SV% in year one of a three year deal that's already $1.4M and only going to get MORE expensive in the future. He makes $300,000 less than John Mitchell. It's not happening. The front office is either wrapped up in their sunk costs here, or are still holding out for Berra to pull it all together, despite the evidence that might happen being roughly one game.
If Berra is in such poor shape that he actually NEEDS a conditioning assignment, that's pretty poor player management on the team's part and awful fitness on his. Usually you see conditioning assignments when a guy comes back from a long term injury. His long term injury, his reason for not playing for weeks, is "being maybe third on the Avs' depth chart." If it's purely manipulation I don't imagine the NHL particularly likes the move, but I'd be surprised if they actually stepped in and said anything.
It's a little bit unfair to the guys involved, of course. Notably Calvin Pickard. It kind of sucks that he keeps getting yanked around between clubs, but if Roy is as good a player psychologist as he's touted to be, he'll make sure that he and Picks are on the same page every time a decision is made about this whole "seeing a lot of pucks" thing.
Just, come on. If this is the arrangement you want you don't need to monkey about with two weeks of conditioning. If this is the arrangement you want, waive Berra and be done with it.
So this move isn't happening immediately--Pickard is still scheduled to start for Lake Erie tonight--but we can reasonably assume he'll be back in Denver within the next day or so. Welcome back, Calvin!