Capitals fans will most likely never forget their first unofficial introduction to Semyon Varlamov, the 20-year-old kid out of Samara, Russia who was called up (and in) to replace a video editor who hours earlier signed an emergency contract to sit in for injured goalie Jose Theodore. The same netminder who would make his debut the following night (a 32-save win) and later prove be a crucial reason in carrying the team to the second round of the playoffs.
Already a trend in DC, the Russian netminder became a fan favorite and was dubbed Varly by Caps fans to make his integration into the NHL smoother. After 2.5 seasons, several injuries, and what seemed to be countless rehab stints in the AHL, the love affair was over and Varlamov found himself on the cusp of returning to the KHL. Despite making it known prior to July 1st his desire to remain in the NHL, rumblings from the motherland called for his return to Yaroslavl Lokomotiv or SKA St.Petersburg. An agreement was never reached as Yaroslav does not much care for SKA and preferred Varlamov return to them.
Now, Varlamov finds himself in Colorado after he was traded for a first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick where he quickly signed a 3-year-deal worth $8.5 million. At his unveiling (found below), Varlamov was not only given a no.1 jersey (as seen in Washington last year) but answered all of his questions in English without the help of a translator. It’s always good to see a foreign player embrace the media in their new language and it seems Varlamov has given it his all
unlike certain players who have been here since 2003.
Varlamov appears focused and healthy; should he be 100% he aims to bring the Avs back to the playoffs as the franchise has yet to qualify in consecutive years since the lockout. The semi-fall out with the Caps could be extremely beneficial to the Avalanche who have not had steady goaltending since the days of Patrick Roy and while Varlamov shouldn’t feel the pressure right away he knows he has to make his favorite childhood team proud.