It’s been over two years since Washington traded Semyon Varlamov to Colorado but, thanks to a variety of developments, the opportunity to face his former club had never materialized.
Saturday night, that all changes.
Varlamov will face his ex-Caps mates for the first time — at the Verizon Center, no less — as the red-hot Avs (4-0-0) take on the struggling Caps (1-3-0).
“I have lots of memories with Washington. They gave me the chance to play in the NHL, you know? So this was a special team for me,” Varlamov told the Denver Post. “Yeah, probably, I will be a little bit nervous. But I’m so excited to be coming back and to play in the Verizon Center.”
Outside of maybe Jonathan Bernier, no young goalie is off to a better start than Varlamov. The Russian ‘tender is a perfect 3-0-0 to start the year, posting a 1.00 GAA and .967 save percentage.
Varlamov, 25, comes by that 1.00 GAA honestly. He’s allowed exactly one goal in each of his wins: a 2-1 over Toronto, 3-1 over Nashville and 6-1 over Anaheim in the season opener.
As for tonight, Varlamov will be facing former teammate Michal Neuvirth as the Czech goalie makes his first start of the year. Neuvirth’s only other appearance came in relief of Braden Holtby in a 5-4 shootout win over Calgary.
The matchup should provide some additional emotion for both parties. Varlamov and Neuvirth both battled for games and minutes during the 2009-10 campaign but it was Varlamov that won out, earning the starting gig for the playoffs after Jose Theodore faltered.
Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.
Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.
Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.
Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)
While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)