Goaltender Semyon Varlamov started poorly for the Colorado Avalanche last season and got progressively worse.
He was 2-4-0 in January with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. He went 4-4-2, 4-8-1 and 1-5-0 during the next three months.
His goals against average rose to 2.94, 3.05 and 3.54 in February, March and April. His goals-against average shrunk to .906, .903 and .883 in a month-to-month regression.
Now Roy has a new coach, former goaltender Patrick Roy. Since Roy was one on of the all-time greats at this position – and is known to be somewhat volatile – this could be a scary proposition for Varlamov.
But Roy hired Francois Allaire to be his goaltending coach. Allaire is known for his ability to rebuild the confidence of his pupils, as he did with veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere, another Rockies goaltender.
The Denver Post asked Allaire how he would fix Varlamov.
“I want him to be comfortable. That's the main thing,” Allaire told the newspaper. “After that, I want him to understand I'm not coming from a different planet. It's the same stuff. We don't want him to change everything. I've met with him a few times already.
“One of my trademarks is I try to make sure guys are feeling good and keep it simple, create good routine, make sure the guy is happy coming to the rink. Then after that, look at the tape and then find their best strength and build around it. I'm not there yet with Varly, but I expect that to come.”
Varlamov will make $3 million this season in the final year of his current contract. How he fares will determined where he remains a No. 1 NHL goaltender, slides into a back-up role somewhere or moves on to Europe to finish his career.