Semyon Varlamov is now an Av. After making a lot of noise about going to the KHL, the Avs traded a first and second round pick for Varlamov, and the Capitals got out of a bind.
To Caps fans, the general sentiment on Varlamov is, don’t let the door hit you. It reminds me of how fast the Avalanche faithful turned on Budaj after his stellar season that almost shoehorned the Avs back into the playoffs in 2006-07, after Jose Theodore (who signed a two year deal with Florida) tanked. Then again, Budaj and his agent weren’t talking smack about the Avalanche either.
The knee-jerk reaction on twitter (which is where I go for my calm and well thought out analysis) is that the Avalanche overspent by a country mile on this deal. A first and a second is a lot to give up for what was essentially negotiating rights, and word is the 2012 draft is kind of deep. And the Avs faithful don’t think they will do much better next season than they did this season.
But then again, the Avalanche seem to be addressing some of their needs, regardless of the ‘rebuilding’ tag. They have a much bigger defense (Liles and Shattenkirk out, Johnson, O’Byrne, and Hejda in), and from the goaltending tandem of Budaj and Elliot, we have Varlamov and (insert someone here). It’s not like the Avalanche have been good at developing goalies anyways. Look at the time spent on Tyler Weiman, and he was shipped off. Vitaly Kolesnik didn’t get a legitimate shot,. And the Avalanche system was stocked with third and fourth goalie talent last season, and doesn’t look much more promising this season. At this point, if you were going to stick with Varlamov, and not go after Vokoun (which I am not convinced that the Avs are out of the Vokoun race yet), you might as well bring back Budaj (too late, 2 years with Montreal). If there isn’t anything worth using in the system, why not give up a pick for a guy who at least has NHL talent? If you can’t develop ‘em, buy ‘em.
It’s way to early to pass judgement on this deal. People think Varlamov is washed up, but what do the fans know? I’ll refer you to the fans in Boston who thought Tim Thomas was washed up a year after winning the Vezina. He had lost the starting job (and justifiably so) to Tukka Rask. One off-season hip surgery later, and he won the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, and his second Vezina. I don’t think Varlamov is going to do the same thing, but there is a lot of unknowns for those of us who are sitting behind our keyboards.
In the end, it’s going to be up to Varlamov as to how good this deal is for the Avalanche. If he plays his ass off, he will make those two draft picks less and less valuable for the Capitals. Since he signed a 2 year, $5.5 million contract, he’s with the Avs for the foreseeable future. I’m happy to sit back and see how it goes.
Besides, if the Avs can get this kind of thing from Varlamov, why not? Maybe the Avs can capture lightning in a bottle again.