Pickard: Being sent to AHL is ‘good for my development’

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Calvin Pickard did just about everything he could have to prevent the Colorado Avalanche from sending him back to the AHL Lake Erie Monsters. He posted a 2.21 GAA and .934 save percentage in 14 contests with the Avalanche, primarily while filling in for an injured Semyon Varlamov.

Nevertheless, the 22-year-old goaltender is back in the minors. He might have been giving NHL-worthy performances, but he’s still completely behind coach Patrick Roy when it comes to the rationale for his demotion.

“It’s definitely not frustrating. It’s a unique situation,” Pickard told The Plain Dealer. “It’s good for me to be playing. I was happy coming back down.

“I knew I put a good effort forward. Coming down here and being the guy and playing a lot of games is good. I definitely want to play. It’s good for my development. I’m still young.”

His positive attitude about the whole situation hasn’t gone unnoticed by Monsters coach Dean Chynoweth. Of course, Pickard has every reason to stay positive. While he might be in the minors for now, he has won over Roy and is likely already viewed as the organization’s second best goaltender ahead of current backup Reto Berra.

That’s based on a recent interview with 104.3 The Fan where Roy stated that he’s not happy with Berra and added, “I think he’s not working hard enough in the practice. He’s not hungry and right now our confidence is on Pickard.”

Berra hasn’t played in a full game since Nov. 20 and has a 3.57 GAA and .882 save percentage in 10 contests this season. He comes with a $1.45 million annual cap hit through the 2016-17 campaign, but at this point it doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder if the Avalanche will buy him out this summer.