Monday, September 11, 2017

Semyon Varlamov Dual Jersey Card

Everything went wrong for the Colorado Avalanche last season, and I predict more of the same this year, with a second-straight last-place finish. This time, though, they will even be surpassed by the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team that had a grand total of two players before the expansion draft in late June.

GM Joe Sakic opted to protect Semyon Varlamov instead of Calvin Pickard in a bizarre move, considering the Golden Knights were extremely unlikely to pick a 29-year-old veteran goalie with health issues who has two years left with a $5.9M cap hit when Marc-André Fleury and Petr Mrazek were also available, to say nothing of talented unproven quantities like Philipp Grubauer and Antti Raanta.

It's not like Varlamov doesn't have the tools to succeed; after all, we're talking about a former first-round draft pick (23rd overall, Washington Capitals, 2006) who once finished second in Vezina and fourth in Hart Trophy voting. And goalies using mostly a butterfly style tend to have their hips and groins act up as they enter their 30s, but with proper care can get operated on and continue playing at a high level, so there's the high probability that last season's procedure will give him five more years at elite status.

It's just that Pickard had shown to have similar potential should he find consistency and is young enough to not have had that patch of injury-related hard luck, while Varlamov had been on a four-season slide, statistically-speaking. Of course, a huge chunk of that falls on the Avs being a terrible, terrible team with no defense to speak of during the entirety of Sakic's tenure with the club - and perhaps one can qualify its depth during the Greg Sherman years as questionable as well.

That being said, I've been waiting for years to feature this beautiful card, #TS-SV from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Artifacts set and Treasured Swatches sub-set:
It shows Varlamov wearing the Avs' white (then-away) uniform in a holding position, either while play is in the offensive zone or waiting on a face-off, and features two matching game-worn jersey swatches.

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