The Colorado Avalanche are set to take on the Dallas Stars later this evening, hoping to continue winning after a comeback victory against the Detroit Red Wings this weekend.
They won’t be doing so with Semyon Varlamov, though.
After the starter missed practice on Tuesday, it was confirmed that he will miss Wednesday’s game with an illness.
In his place, Jonathan Bernier will get the start - and now, to fill in his seat on the bench, Andrew Hammond will make his Colorado Avalanche debut.
Hammond was dealt to the Avalanche earlier this season, getting moved as a part of the deal that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa and Kyle Turris to Nashville. He was easily the least consequential piece in the move, serving essentially as a salary dump and getting reassigned to the AHL’s Belleville Senators as soon as the transaction was complete.
Now, though, Colorado will bring him up to serve as backup behind Bernier, taking over for Varlamov while the Russian starter recovers from his illness.
There’s been no real information disseminated about how long Varlamov is out, but he’s clearly not feeling well enough to dress at all - so if Bernier has a rough start to the game, Hammond may have to come in as relief. That will be his first NHL appearance all year - and although his statistics have picked up this year after an injury-riddled 2016-17 campaign, it’s still unclear whether or not he’s still the goaltender that helped Ottawa earn a postseason berth in 2015.
The only good news is that Colorado won’t be alone with an AHL backup.
In Dallas, veteran goaltender Kari Lehtonen is home on leave with his wife, who delivered their baby earlier this week. That leaves Ben Bishop to make all the starts, while Mike McKenna of the Texas Stars sits as number two behind him.
The two teams will face off at 7:00 PM MST this evening in Denver.