The Colorado Avalanche are seven points out of a playoff spot with 15 games to go, but they’re not letting that alter their course of action with No. 1 netminder Semyon Varlamov.
Varlamov, who’s struggled with groin injuries all year long, missed Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Los Angeles while dealing with, you guessed it, a groin injury.
Despite that, Avs head coach Patrick Roy said there’s no chance he shuts down Varlamov for the rest of the year.
Roy said Varlamov’s injury is not as serious as it was earlier in the season and that the team is “absolutely not” thinking about shutting him down for the season and watching Berra and Pickard audition for next season’s backup job.
“I just don’t want to go into detail — and it’s not like I want to keep it for us — but I’m not a doctor,” Roy said of Varlamov’s injury. “I can’t give you the exact term and exactly how it is, but, no, it’s not as severe as the first times.”
While Varlamov hasn’t been as good as he was during last year’s Vezina finalist campaign, he’s still posted pretty solid numbers in 2014-15: 22-17-7 record, .921 save percentage, 2.56 GAA and five shutouts.
News that Varlamov will continue to play this season — he’s expected to start Thursday against New Jersey — puts a pinch on Calvin Pickard and Reto Berra, who are essentially battling for the backup gig in Colorado, but now won’t have as many opportunities to win it.
Pickard is a RFA at season’s end and looks to have the upper hand given his body of work this season (6-7-3, .932 save percentage, 2.35 GAA), but Berra will be in the mix as well mostly because of his contract, which is of the one-way variety and pays $1.4 million.