Every Monday, we’ll highlight (lowlight?) three of the NHL’s biggest duds from the past week.
1st Dud: Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche
Key stat: 0-5-1 with an .831 save percentage in November.
And so begins the “Holy crap, I can’t believe Colorado gave up a first-rounder for this guy” narrative.
Though for time, the trade didn’t seem so bad. Varlamov started the year looking like a bonafide No. 1 by going 5-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .924 save percentage, giving Avs GM Greg “The Shermanator” Sherman a brief period of reprieve.
Emphasis on ‘brief’.
Varlamov has come crashing down to earth in spectacular fashion. ‘”His current struggles are partially due to a fragile mindset,” writes Justin Goldman of NHL.com. “Although he has terrific raw skills, when he lacks traits like poise, timeliness, and consistency, one weak goal shatters Colorado’s unstable momentum.”
JS Giguere has started Colorado’s last three games (Varlamov’s last start was on Nov. 15; his last win was on Oct. 30). Head coach Joe Sacco has gone public saying Varlamov’s still his No. 1, but we’ll see if he sticks to it this week — the Avs face division rivals Vancouver and Edmonton at the Pepsi Center, where they’ve been desperate for wins all season long.
Martin Havlat, RW, San Jose Sharks
Key stat: 1PT in last 5GP
Havlat was great in his first eight games as a Shark (1G-7A) but has since struggled. His slump is being overlooked because San Jose is on fire and atop the Pacific Division, but it’s definitely noticeable — head coach Todd McLellan bumped Havlat out of the top-six and replaced him with Torrey Mitchell. Havlat’s now skating on the third line with Jamie McGinn and Michal Handzus while averaging 2.3 shots per game and 2:27 of PP time.
3rd Dud: Tomas Kaberle, D, Carolina Hurricanes
Key stat: 4pts in 21GP.
Carolina’s 3-7-0 in its last 10 and Kaberle is a huge reason why with zero goals, two assists and a minus-3 rating.
It’s almost as if the ‘Canes are better off with less Kaberle in their lives. Case in point: Kaberle played just 16:35 against Toronto on Sunday, his second-lowest ice-time total of the year — and Carolina won 3-2. Coincidence?