Last night, Semyon Varlamov made his debut for the New York Islanders in the crease. Ilya Sorokin has been great for New York in Varlamov’s absence but in a back-to-back situation, it was the perfect time to get Varlamov his first game.
For the most part, he was really good. He stopped 34 shots to a .919 save percentage. All things considered, it was a majority good start except for a soft goal allowed to Brandon Duhaime in the third period that allowed Minnesota to take the lead.
This was Charmin soft stuff from Varlamov. Unfortunately, he’s been prone to giving up a soft one every now and again during his unbelievable stretches with the Islanders. In 82 career games with New York, he has a .921 save percentage and a 2.37 goals against average, both are very good numbers, but still, every once in a while one like that goes in which makes you scratch your head.
Still, just like we said about Ilya Sorokin, Semyon Varlamov needs the benefit of the doubt. Yes, the third goal was soft but we can’t forget everything he did to keep them in this game before that. He stood on his head in the first period, bailed out Noah Dobson on his power play brain fart and came up big in other areas as well along the way.
Varlamov was hit with a -1.20 goals saved above average based on his performance last night according to Natural Stat Trick. If you remember after the first couple of games this year, Sorokin was bottom four in the league in this category.
Now, with nine starts under his belt, he’s up to 1.75 at 5v5 which is a big improvement. After what Semyon Varlamov has done for this team over the last two years, all I’m saying is the big guy deserves the benefit of the doubt.
If we’re going to do it for Ilya, then we have to remain consistent and do it for Varly too.