Colorado will ‘ride’ Pickard, who’s off to hot start for Avs

1 Comment

It’s always interesting when a backup goalie gets off to a hot start, and it’s even more interesting when there’s a struggling starter, too.

That’s exactly what’s happening in Colorado, where Calvin Pickard (3-0-0, .946) will get the nod against the Coyotes tonight, while Semyon Varlamov (2-6-0, .881) sits and watches.

“If we have a hot goalie,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told the Denver Post, “then we’ll ride him and kind of move on from there on a week-to-week basis.”

Pickard is certainly hot. He shut out the Wild on Saturday, then relieved Varlamov Sunday and didn’t allow a goal in a period of work.

Pickard, 24, is actually just picking up where he left off last season, which he finished with a .922 save percentage in 20 appearances. He re-signed for two years over the summer, for a cap hit of just $1 million. He’ll still be a restricted free agent when his contract expires.

Varlamov, meanwhile, is signed through 2018-19 for a cap hit of $5.9 million. And with 320 career NHL starts to his name, the 28-year-old’s body of work is obviously much larger than Pickard’s.

But it does bring up an interesting scenario, should Pickard continue to play well. Would the Avs consider protecting him over Varlamov in the expansion draft?

It’s probably too early to ask that question, but hey, we asked it anyway.

The Avs continue their four-game home stand Friday against the Jets. The Bruins visit Sunday, the Kings Tuesday.