(Photo by: Dinor Blum/Flickr)
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov has struggled so far this season. During the NHL work stoppage, Varlamov played on his mother land for Lokomotiv in the KHL, where he suffered a knee injury. The injury could be affecting him, but more realistically, it is the difficult transition from the European game to the North American.
Surprisingly, Varlamov is only 24, with tons of potential in him. The Russian goaltender got his first chance in playing in the NHL at age 20 for the Washington Capitals, where he played in six games. Varlamov was being called up and down between the Caps and the AHL's Hershey Bears, while he was with the organization.
Then during the 2011 offseason, Varlamov was sent to Colorado where he would be a full-time starter for the Avalanche. Since being in the Mile High city, his stats haven't been as good and hasn't been in the playoffs with the team.
Varlamov plays with a wide stance. Usually, when a goalie has a stance that is wide, it slows down their movement while the goalie is on their feet. However, Varlamov is very quick and is the exception to the rule. Many players will notice the wide stance, so they will attempt to shoot five hole thinking it will be open.
His movement off his feet is outstanding. Varlamov is very quick in recovering after he goes down to his butterfly. But in being so quick, many will see that he has a lack of control.
Many of the goals scored on Varlamov isn't his fault. The Colorado defense has been brutal and have given him little support. Opponents are able to deke around the Avs to get a goal on Varlamov. Also, players are open often for a one time or quick deflection into the net.
In saying that, Varlamov has to do his part in clearing out rebounds by deflecting them into the boards or corners.
Here is how to beat Semyon Varlamov.
Blocker side: High blocker side on Varlamov will be open. The blocker will rest on his pads instead of raising it.
5-Hole: The wide stance Varlamov has takes a half a second longer to close up the five hole. In that little time, a puck can go through.
Semyon Varlamov's 2012-13 stats
#1 Semyon Varlamov
Semyon Varlaamov's career vs Nashville
#1 Semyon Varlamov