All Semyon Varlamov has to do to be successful in Colorado is play like Patrick Roy.
In stepping into the Colorado goaltending void, Varlamov enters what is arguably one of the most high-expectation, pressure-filled situations in the NHL. The Avalanche have been searching unsuccessfully for a successor to one of the greatest netminders in NHL history since Roy's retirement in 2003.
A series of goaltenders have come and gone since then, with the Avalanche quietly hoping each would have a surprise, breakout year and turn into something special. They have come up empty so far. Colorado has never paid as steep a price as they did for Varlamov, though—he cost the team a first and second-round draft pick.
Semyon Varlamov has shown flashes of brilliance. He has owned one of the higher save percentages in the NHL in recent years, and his limited playoff experience has been impressive. But he has struggled with injuries and has never faced the pressure of carrying an NHL team for an entire regular season as a starter.
In fact, he has never started more than 27 regular season games in one year in the NHL.
The pressure is on the young Varlamov to step up and prove he can be an elite NHL goaltender. The Avalanche are clearly banking that he will be able to do so. Might the Avs have finally found their long-term solution to the goaltending problem? Time will tell.