The Colorado Avalanche haven’t received the level of goaltending they hoped for from Philipp Grubauer after they acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche last summer and signed him to a three-year contract. He was supposed to replace the outgoing Jonathan Bernier while allowing the team to let Semyon Varlamov walk into free agency without having to pay up for his services. Unfortunately Varlamov has vastly outplayed Grubauer, giving the Avalanche a tough decision on what to do in net this offseason. For what it’s worth, Varlamov has now publicly announced that he hopes to stay in Colorado after speaking with Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic (subscription required):
'I want to stay here because I love this team and hopefully I am going to stay and hopefully I’m going to re-sign my next contract with the Avalanche.'
Varlamov, 30, has done everything necessary to complicate the decision. The veteran netminder has a .911 save percentage on the year, quite a bit higher than Grubauer’s .896. Notably though, the team does have former KHL star Pavel Francouz playing well in the minor leagues. Francouz is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, and retaining him would likely cost more than the $690K he is earning this year. Still that number would likely be much lower than whatever Varlamov is asking for, given his history as a starter in the NHL and $5.9MM cap hit this season.