Friday, August 14, 2020

Semyon Varlamov Jersey Card

Semyon Varlamov is having a tremendous postseason at the expense of the Washington Capitals in Round 1 after puzzling the Florida Panthers' young stars in the play-in. Signing with the New York Islanders as a free agent in the off-season sure looks like a great move on his part, with Barry Trotz' system doing its part to help the 32-year-old reach the level that's expected from a $5M goalie, but it's a two-way street, and Varlamov is surely doing his part, with opportune saves like this one:

The former Vezina Trophy runner-up (2013-14) has slowly but surely evolved into an elite goaltending, and his international career with Team Russia shows that very well, as he had made his way to the squad at the 2005 World Juniors as an underage third-stringer, then won the silver medal the following season as the official backup to Anton Khudobin and again in 2007 as the starter (ahead of Sergei Bobovsky), and he would repeat the progression with the Men's Teams, first as the third-stringer behind Evgeni Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov at the 2010 Olympics, then earning silver as the main guy at the 2010 World Championships and gold as the starter once again at the 2012 Worlds.

It's like he takes his first opportunity to assess the situation quietly, then climbs the ranks and gets successful. The same holds true of his beginnings with the Isles this season, losing his first two games - including getting pulled after surrendering four goals on 19 shots in under 29 minutes against the Edmonton Oilers; he won seven of his next eight starts - the loss coming in overtime.

When all was said and done, with the team plan originally being to platoon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss, #40 played 45 regular-season games while the 33-year-old German appeared in 31; Greiss has yet to appear in the postseason, in part because of Varlamov's staggering statistics:  6-1 record, with a 1.71 GAA and a .932 save percentage despite having not record a shutout yet.

Here he is back in his days with the Colorado Avalanche, sporting their white (away) uniform on card #GJ-SV from Upper Deck's 2014-15 Series 1 collection and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
It features a burgundy game-worn jersey swatch.

As you can perhaps tell from the picture, he has a low stance and centre of gravity in net, as he's 6'2" tall yet his "pounce" stance has his head below the crossbar, which stands at four feet high.

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