Calvin Pickard is set to make his sixth straight start for Colorado on Sunday, but Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said there’s a 95 percent chance Semyon Varlamov (groin) will be back between the pipes on Tuesday, per the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers.
Varlamov’s groin injury has been an ongoing problem this season that has landed him on the injured reserve list three times. When he has played, he’s posted a lackluster 3.22 GAA and .909 save percentage in 15 games. Contrast that with Pickard, who is going into tonight’s contest against Detroit with a 2.16 GAA and .936 save percentage in 12 games.
The stage seems to be set for a goaltending controversy once Varlamov returns, but Roy recently tried to preempt that by throwing his support behind the 2014 Vezina Trophy finalist.
“Let’s not forget what Varly did for this team last year. Varly is our No. 1 goalie and he will be our No. 1 goalie,” Roy said. “We’ll see when he comes back and how he plays. But I understand everybody has seen how Pickard is playing and everybody is very excited about him. But we were all very excited about Varly last year.”
The plan seems to be to instead send Pickard back to the AHL so that the 22-year-old will continue to play regularly. Based on the news about Varlamov’s health, it looks like we’ll find out if they’ll follow through with that strategy pretty soon.