According to Adrian Dater of BSNDenver.com, the Colorado Avalanche are going to use their goaltender protection spot for the upcoming expansion draft on Semyon Varlamov.
This comes as a surprise to many, as the 28-year old Varlamov has battled multiple injury problems and still has two years left on his deal at $5.9 million per year. Meanwhile, Calvin Pickard at 24 years old is much younger and cheaper at only $1 million for one more season.
The expansion draft is being held this offseason due to the Vegas Golden Knights joining the league. Vegas will select one player for each of the other 30 teams in the NHL from an available players pool. The 30 teams have two options when protecting their players: (1) protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie, or (2) protect 8 skaters [forwards/defensemen] and 1 goalie.
Joe Sakic is apparently content on Semyon Varlamov still being the Avs’ no. 1 goaltender, and is prepared to use the goaltender protection on him.
Pickard “could be an attractive choice for the Golden Knights, considering his age, contract and potential,” Dater writes. However, he goes on to report on Pickard’s down year as the team’s starter since Varlamov’s season ended due to hip surgery.
The report comes from a legitimate source, as Adrian Dater has strong, deep ties to the Avalanche organization going back the last 20+ years. He has recently joined BSN Denver as a staff writer for Avalanche insider coverage.
My only grain of salt I am taking with this is, are we certain that Joe Sakic will still have full control of these type of roster moves? I mean the offseason just started and there is still a lot of time between now and he expansion draft, and as I speculated yesterday — perhaps the Avs’ could look outside the organization for help in the front office?
I’m not taking anything away from Dater’s report, the guy does great work and should be 100% trusted based on his inside availability and track record… I just am not really taking Joe Sakic’s word for it because I still don’t believe Sakic is the right guy for his own job.
We shall see. The NHL Expansion Draft will take place on June 21st. NHL teams must have their protection lists submitted by June 17th. Until then, let the speculating on who the Avs will protect continue…