The 2013-14 campaign is one Semyon Varlamov won’t soon forget.
On Thursday, Varlamov re-upped with Colorado on a five-year, $29.5 million extension — one that carries a $5.9 million annual cap hit, putting him among the NHL’s 10 highest-paid netminders starting next season.
“Undoubtedly, Semyon has been an impact player for us this season,” said Avalanche vice president Joe Sakic said in a statement. “At only 25 years old, he is entering the prime years of his career and he wants to be part of this franchise moving forward.
“We are very excited to have come to terms with him and the fact that he has agreed to a five-year extension demonstrates his commitment to the Avalanche and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The extension will signify a big raise for Varlamov, who is currently in the final of a three-year, $8.5 million deal with a $2.83M cap hit.
Varlamov has posted a 26-9-5 record with a 2.43 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and one shutout in 42 games (39 starts) this season. He was selected to represent Russia at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and, should he maintain this level of play, will likely be in Vezina consideration at year’s end.
Of course, Varlamov came under heavy scrutiny this season after he was charged with third-degree assault following allegations of assaulting his girlfriend at their home on Oct. 30. Those charges were later dropped — “it became clear we didn’t have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Denver district attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said, per the Denver Post — but Varlamov’s accuser stood by her story, saying she was “saddened” by the D.A’s decision.
UPDATE: Interesting note here about Colorado’s cap situation for next season, from ESPN’s Craig Custance…
Varlamov goes from 2.8 to 5.9 next year. Landeskog from 925K to $5.57 mil. O’Reilly has huge QO coming or new deal. Prices jumping in CO.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) January 31, 2014
The Avs also have a decision to make with pending UFA center Paul Stastny.