Islanders: Semyon Varlamov 2019-2020 Season Review
By Matt O'Leary
In Semyon Varlamov’s first year with the Islanders, he was solid for the team in net and excelled in the playoffs as well.
Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello had his eye on Semyon Varlamov for over a year. He almost traded for him last year, but instead, he elected to wait until he became a free agent moving on from Robin Lehner to go with the Russian goalie who spent the previous eight years in Colorado.
Varlamov received a four-year, $20 million deal from the Islanders to be their starting goalie with an additional hope, help get Ilya Sorokin to Long Island.
Well, on the ice, Varly was good. He had some ups and downs but over the course of the regular season he had a .914 save percentage (23rd in the league) and a 2.62 goals against average which was 16th in the NHL in 45 games.
Through the first three months of the season, Varlamov was at a .920 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. The Isles regression in defensive play after the Adam Pelech is what dropped him down in the second half.
Against high danger scoring chances, Semyon Varlamov was 25th of 48 qualifying goalies with an .827 save percentage. His goals saved above average also went from a -1.16 up to a 5.56 from last year to this past year.
When the playoffs rolled around, Varlamov was named the starting goalie to no surprise. In the Florida series, he was excellent, finishing with a .929 save percentage while allowing just seven goals in four games.
That trend continued against Washington as the Isles were able to advance in five games. In that series, he played all five games and finished with a .939 save percentage and just eight goals in five games.
Varly did not have the same success against Philly. In the five games he played, he finished with a sub .900 save percentage three times which resulted in him getting benched for Thomas Greiss.
After a rough couple of starts against Tampa, he settled in nicely and ended up finishing the playoffs with a .921 save percentage and a 2.14 goals against average and a 11-7 record in 18 games.
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Between his play on the ice, and the eventual signing of Ilya Sorokin, Varlamov earns himself a B+ grade on the season. He’s a more than capable starter who can help get Ilya Sorokin acclimated to playing in the NHL.