The Colorado Avalanche have a tough choice to make ahead of the expansion draft, but one insider is reporting that the decision has already been made.
In an exclusive for BSN Denver, Avs insider Adrian Dater has reported that the Avalanche will be protecting goaltender Semyon Varlamov in the expansion draft, and therefore my extension will be leaving former 2010 2nd round draft pick Calvin Pickard exposed to the draft.
The goalie that will be protected, BSNDenver has learned, is Varlamov.
The Avs still consider the Russian, who missed the second half of this past season from hip surgery, their “No. 1 goalie” and therefore believe he should be protected over the younger, cheaper Pickard.
Varlamov had what has to be called a horrific start to the regular season before going under the knife for hip surgery, so it's understandable why such a significant section of the Avs fan base has reacted to this announcement with vitriol. In his 24 games with the Avalanche prior to being shut down for the season, Varlamov had a 3.38 goals against average and an abysmal 0.898 save percentage.
Given his recent struggles, large contract, and the current questions about his ability to make a full recovery from major surgery, many felt that exposing Varlamov would be a no-brainer. It's questionable whether or not Vegas would take a gamble on such a player, and even if they did many feel Varlamov can no longer justify his cap hit with his performance.
This is one move we may be hearing about for a while.