Semyon Varlamov’s name has come up in trade rumors. And it’s rather confusing as to why the New York Islanders would move their starter.
When Semyon Varlamov was brought in as a free agent, many New York Islanders fans were shaking their heads. Why let Vezina finalist Robin Lehner leave as a free agent to get a guy who averaged a 0.909SV% and 2.87GAA with the Colorado Avalanche?
But in 45 games (39 starts) Varlamov proved that he’s a good NHL starter. In those 29 starts, he put up a 19-14-6 record and averaged a 2.62GAA and 0.914SV%. In the playoffs, he was even better going 11-7 with a 2.14GAA and 0.921SV%.
With three more years to go on a four year $20 million deal, Islanders fans were getting settled to the idea of Varlamov and Sorokin between the pipes for a few more years. But it seems that Varlamov could be cleared for cap space according to Craig Custance’s sources. Which is pretty darn confusing.
Writing for The Athletic, Craig Custance indicated that a source of his believes the Islanders could move Semyon Varlamov for some much-needed cap space (subscription required).
With $8.905 million in cap space and Varlamov carrying a $5.5 million cap hit, moving the 12-year NHL veteran would make sense financially. But it stops there.
Just yesterday, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello stated that the Isles goaltending situation for 2020-21 is “obvious”.
And it is. The Isles have Varlamov and Sorokin signed for 20-21 while Thomas Greiss‘s contract comes to a close this season. Varlamov will likely be the number one with Sorokin being the backup/1b.
The Islanders are better off keeping Varlamov, who is a good goalie, on the team for 20-21 for a number of reasons.
- He can help Sorokin grow into his role as an NHL starter.
- He could be used as expansion draft bait.
- He could be bough out in 2021 and save the Isles $4.333 million on the salary cap.
It’s not to say that the Islanders wouldn’t move Varlamov. If the offer is right any GM would move just about any player. But it’s unlikely that a team is willing to offer the Islanders enough to move Varlamov considering how flooded the goalie maker is going to be. He’s going to be here for at least another year.