Colorado Avalanche: Jean-Sebastien Giguere Taking Control in Avalanche Crease

Kevin Goff@@BrgBrigadeKevinContributor IJanuary 23, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 18:  Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere #35 of the Colorado Avalanche pauses during a break in the action against the Florida Panthers at the Pepsi Center on January 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

On the free-agent frenzy, the Colorado Avalanche made a big splash by acquiring Semyon Varlamov in a trade that have many people raising their eyebrows.

The other move that the Avalanche made (signing veteran goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere) regarding goaltending is now looking to be one of the biggest steals of the offseason.

From day one in training camp, Giguere immediately showed his worth as a leader in the locker room and in practices.

Though Giguere has always been competitive and eager to get on the ice, he embraced his role as backup and never made any noise about wanting more ice time.

Rather he made it clear that he knew his role went far beyond just backing up Varlamov, but to also be his mentor and help the 23-year-old learn what it means to be a starting goalie in the league.

Varlamov has stumbled a few times in the year, which has given Giguere a chance to earn some more ice time, something that he has made the most of. 

Giguere is 12-6-1 in his 19 starts and sports one of the league's better save percentages at .925. He also has a goals against average of just over 2.00.

In addition to his fantastic numbers is the effect that he has on the rest of the team when he is in the net.

Giguere controls rebounds much better than Varlamov, which makes the defense far less skittish and causes the team to be more confident in their game.

J.S. Giguere is the ideal mentor for young Semyon Varlamov
J.S. Giguere is the ideal mentor for young Semyon VarlamovElsa/Getty Images

After a recent stint of games where Giguere and Varlamov have been splitting time in net, Varlamov has once again struggled to put together consistently strong efforts.

Thanks to this strong effort, the Avalanche now find themselves in the eighth seed in the Western Conference and Jean-Sebastien Giguere seems to have taken over the No. 1 goaltender position for the Avalanche.

Nonetheless, Avalanche fans should be careful before labeling Varlamov a bust. He is young and incredibly talented, and the longer he spends around Giguere, the better he will become.

Gigurere still knows that despite the fact Varlamov isn't the clear starter anymore, part of his job is to make sure that Varlamov knows how to be a top goalie for his team.

Count on Giguere having the exact kind of influence that Varlamov needs, all while helping the Avalanche push into the playoffs.

Kevin Goff is a Featured Columnist for the Colorado Avalanche and NHL on Bleacher Report. For more NHL news and discussion, 

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