The Colorado Avalanche got a scare on Tuesday, as reports out of Switzerland stated that starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov had suffered an injury. The 26-year-old Varlamov was in Verbier, Switzerland to attend Avs’ goaltender coach Francois Allaire’s goaltending camp.
According to Eurolanche, Varlamov suffered an ankle injury not on the ice, but instead while playing basketball. According to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, the team is saying that the injury is “very minor” and they expect Varlamov to return to the ice soon. He did, however, leave the camp with his ankle covered in a bandage. On the plus side, a photo showed him leaving without the assistance of crutches.
Varlamov blossomed last season under the tutelage of Allaire, leading the NHL in both wins (41) and saves (1,867). He was nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender, posting a .927 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average.
A Swiss native, Berra was acquired by the Avalanche from the Calgary Flames at last season’s trade deadline. The 27-year-old netminder struggled in his two games with the Avalanche, posting a .781 save percentage and a 5.83 goals against average. He is expected to serve as Varlamov’s backup in the coming season, having signed a three-year extension in March that will pay him $1.45 million per season.
“As I mentioned when we acquired Reto, we strongly believe in his abilities,” said Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic at the time of the signing. “He has size and skill and will help solidify our goaltending position for years to come.”
The 22-year-old Pickard was selected by the Avalanche in the second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He spent last season with Colorado’s top AHL affiliate: The Lake Erie Monsters. In 43 games for the Monsters, Pickard was 16-18-7, with .906 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average.
Francois Allaire just finished his first season as goaltending coach for the Avalanche. He served in the same capacity for the Montreal Canadiens when Patrick Roy (now head coach of the Avalanche) was in net, helping Roy to win two Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythe Trophies, four William Jennings Trophies and three Vezina Trophies. He also was the goaltending coach of the Anaheim Ducks during Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s time with the team, during which the Ducks won a Stanley Cup and Giguere won a Conn Smythe Trophy.