Semyon Varlamov has been great, the jury’s out on Philpp Grubauer.
We saw just the one game, so far from the newest Avalanche goaltender. That game, in Columbus, gives us no accurate read on the 26-year old’s abilities. The Avalanche won’t throw clunkers in front of Grubauer like that very often, we hope.
It’s important that a solid backup provide respite for the Avalanche’s top netminder in Varlamov, who has had a history of injury concerns.
When healthy, Varly is a legitimate, all-star level goalie. The issue, then is that he struggles to stay healthy. Even after his return in 2017-18 from the hip injury that cost him the previous season, Varly couldn’t go for the playoff series with the Nashville Predators.
What the Avalanche may have accomplished with a healthy Varlamov in net is hard to say. Jonathan Bernier performed well enough but sometimes one big save or series from a goaltender can spark a team.
Like other seasons, the Avalanche’s 2018-19 campaign will come down to the health of it’s roster. If Mac, Erik Johnson and Varlamov can stay relatively healthy, Colorado can compete with anyone.
Thursday night’s 6-1 dismantling of the Buffalo Sabres shows what a healthy team motivated to win on the road and sporting possibly the game’s best player can accomplish.
Buckle-up, Avs fans, this season has the makings of a special one!