Semyon Varlamov: The Future Of Goaltending In The NHL

Svyato RovenchukSenior Writer IOctober 3, 2009

Semyon Varlamov is a Russian born goalie now playing in the NHL as a member of the Washington Capitals. He was born April 27th, 1988. Varlamov comes in 6' 2 and is 209 pounds. Semyon was drafted 23rd overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

When the Washington Capitals drafted this kid they probably didn't realize he was this good. They knew that he was good or else he wouldn't have been drafted that high, but for him to be at the level he is now is remarkable. The man is a terrific goaltender that any team would love to have. He isn't a very shaky guy in net. He is a guy who stands tall and makes those much needed save. You can see on many replays that after this man makes a big save the Capitals all of the sudden rush down the other end and they put the puck in the net.

Varlamov was raised in Kuybyshev training in the VVS program. Before he learned to skate Varlamov played in net because he like the bigger stick. Today he still has that bigger hockey stick except he holds it on NHL ice. The young man would soon move from Kuybyshev to Yaroslavl and quickly established himself as the dominant goalie.

In the 2004-2005 season Varlamov had his debut on Lokomotiv's junior farm club playing back up to Ivan Kaustin. Kaustin eventually got loaned to a different team. This resulted in Varlamov becoming the starter. You know what he did? He carried his team to the finals is what he did.

After being drafted by the Capitals they signed him to a three year entry level contract. For the 2008-2009 season he played for Washington's AHL affiliate, Hershey Bears. He was however called up a few times. He played his first NHL game on December 13th, 2008. He faced the Montreal Canadiens. Varlamov made 32 saves leading his team to a 2-1 victory. His home debut for the Capitals would come 5 days later as they faced St. Louis. Once again he came up big as he and the Capitals took the game 4-2.

After Brent Johnson went down with an injury during the season Varlamov took over as Washington's back up. He ended the season with a record of 4-0-1. Also having a Save percentage of .918 and 2.37 GAA. Varlamov would recieve the starting position for the Caps in the playoffs after Theodore continued to struggle against the Rangers. Varlamov came in looking to save the series and that he did. He helped the Capitals come back in the series and advance to the next round to face Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sadly they could not win that series and they eventually got eliminated by the soon to be Stanley Cup Champions. Still if you lose to the champions there isn't much shame in it.

This season the Washington Capitals come in expecting big things from this kid as he is now the legit starter for them. Is it a lot of pressure to put on a 21 year old? Maybe, but can he handle it? Absolutely.

Some day guys like Mason, Hiller, Gustavsson, and of course Varlamov will be what NHL goaltending is all about. So when it comes to the Capitals chosing this guy it was a great move because they got a great goalie for years to come.