It was an up and down season for Semyon Varlamov in 2020 for the New York Islanders. What can we expect from him in 2021?
2020 was a strange year for Semyon Varlamov with the New York Islanders. In his first 20 games with the Islanders, he had a .923 save percentage and jumped out to an impressive 12-3-2 start looking every bit worth his $20 million contract.
Over his final 25 games to close out the regular season, Varly went 7-11-4 with a .907 save percentage. Unfortunately, as Casey Cizikas and Adam Pelech got injured the team completely fell apart.
Once the playoffs rolled around, and the team got healthy, Varlamov looked like his old self. In 19 starts, he was 11-7 with a .921 save percentage and a 2.14 goals against average. Outside of a .899 save percentage in the Flyers series, he was excellent the rest of the way.
Heading into this season, he is expected to begin as the starter. What can we expect out of him in 2021?
With Ilya Sorokin as a rookie, I expect they’ll want to ease him into the league which is perfect because Semyon Varlamov proved that he can be effective in a two-goalie system just this past season.
During the regular season, I’d expect Varlamov to get roughly 35 starts. Over a full 82 game season that would be a pace of 51 meaning, Sorokin would get the other 31 which seems about fair.
Based on how he played with a healthy roster, I have no reason to believe that he’s going to have a massive regression. I’ll say a .918 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average for Varlamov in the 2021 season.
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Those numbers aren’t jumping off the page, but it’s more than enough to get by with. How much longer Varlamov sticks around after this year is an interesting storyline that I think we’ll discuss for the foreseeable future but for now, he’ll be an asset to the Barry Trotz system.