Colorado's Varlamov sets goal for new season: 'Try to lead my team to the [Stanley Cup] final'
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was named the runner-up for the 2014 Vezina Trophy after recording 41 wins and a save percentage of .927 in 63 appearances last season.
Despite his personal achievements, Varlamov isn't satisfied with how the season ended, as the upstart Avs were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.
"We hope to repeat our achievements of last season [and] get another chance in the playoffs," Varlamov told RDS while training in Quebec (via Google Translate). "I did not deliver last spring. I want to... try to lead my team to the [Stanley Cup] final."
Varlamov posted a .913 save percentage during the seven-game series loss, a significant drop from his regular season performance. Many believe that the 26-year-old is poised to regress to that level this season, believing his numbers will track closer to his career average of .913 (prior to the 2013-14 season).
Part of that sentiment grows out of Colorado's 1025 even strength PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage), which ranked them third in the NHL (as per Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com). The belief is that teams will, over time, level off at 1000, meaning the Avalanche may roll down that proverbial hill sooner than later.
Varlamov credits goaltending coach Francois Allaire for his most recent success, and is hoping he sticks around to help sustain the success. "When I became involved with Francis, he changed my style. I play differently today," Varlamov asserted. "I hope we have the chance to work together for another 10 to 15 years or until the end of my career."
The Avalanche as a whole, and Varlamov in particular, represent a major storyline heading into 2014-15; without a repeat performance from the goaltender, Patrick Roy may have a hard time defending his 2013 "best coach" honors.
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