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Varlamov Out For the Season

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

After rumors from Russia overnight told of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a chronic groin issue, the Avs have confirmed that this is indeed the case. They also describe it as “hip surgery” for what it’s worth.

The team expects Calvin Pickard and rookie Spencer Martin to backstop the Avs for the rest of the season.

A couple things this complicates or even uncomplicates. It’s doubtful that the expansion team in Vegas will take a chance on Varly (it’s rumored they had no interest anyway) so he can be exposed and Calvin Pickard protected in June. That’s nice, but it also makes it impossible to trade Varlamov in the foreseeable future. He’s signed for 2 more years at $5.9M per so looks like he’ll be around until at least the trade deadline in 2019. That might not be nice if he can’t get back to the Vezina level of a few seasons ago.

Calvin Pickard is learning to be a starter in the NHL this year and he’s not really there yet. I believe he’s got the talent but he struggled when making all the starts at the end of December and into early January. He’s not Cory Schneider, the Avs can’t play him 90% of the games especially since post-ASG they play every other night until April. Spencer Martin shows promise already at the NHL level but I doubt the best development course if for him to make 8 or 9 starts (and that’s generous) from now til the end of the season. He probably should be in the AHL starting twice a week instead.

So, even tho’ they have myriad needs elsewhere should Sakic consider using assets to acquire some sort of short-term solution in goal? We’ve heard rumors that they might be shopping for one and it seems to be a need. Who around the league would be a fit, Reto Berra maybe?

The Salary cap is going to be an issue going forward, no two ways about it. Yesterday the Avs were above the Daily Salary Cap by around $250k with Jim O’Brien on the roster. The plan needs to be call up the most expensive guys possible from the AHL this weekend then put Varly on Long-Term Injured Reserve to maximize the relief. If they keep everyone on IR plus Varly they can call up 4 guys. Grimaldi, Compher, Siemens & Bigras are the 4 most expensive contracts in the AHL. This would give the Avs a little less than $3.5M in cap relief. Righteous bucks.