An injury forced Semyon Varlamov to ease into the NHL season. But how did the veteran netkeeper perform for the New York Islanders in 2021-22?
This is a continuation of the player-level report cards that we started this offseason. You can read the other ones here:
Goalies: Ilya Sorokin
Defense: Sebastian Aho | Zdeno Chara | Noah Dobson | Scott Mayfield | Adam Pelech | Ryan Pulock
Forwards: Josh Bailey | Mathew Barzal | Anthony Beauvillier | Kieffer Bellows | Casey Cizikas | Cal Clutterbuck | Anders Lee | Brock Nelson | Matt Martin | Kyle Palmieri | Jean-Gabriel Pageau | Zach Parise | Oliver Wahlstrom
Team Level: New York Islanders
New York Islanders 21-22 report cards: Semyon Varlamov
Overall Results: C+
His average results on the year weren't amazing. Varlamov's 0.912SV% and 2.88GAA are both below his career average number of 0.916 and 2.64. So comparatively, that's not a good year for Semyon Varlamov.
Of course, we know the challenge that Varlamov faced this year. Recovering from an injury at the start of the year meant that he had to play catch up. That's obviously not easy. But look his first half was better than his back half.
In Varlamov's first 15 games he averaged a 0.914SV% and a 2.60GAA. In the second half, he averaged a 0.910SV% and a 3.07GAA. Again, he was worse when he should have been "caught up". That's why I'm giving Varly a C+.
Timely Saves: B-
One of the key skills for a goalie is his ability to get his team out of a bind. Can they make timely saves? The best way to see if they did or not is to look at how many goals a goalie stopped above expected. How many goals did they effectively prevent?
Varlamov finished 41st in the NHL wit ha 0.7 goals saved above expected (across all situations). And while that doesn't sound great, he's in the top third of the NHL's 119 goalies that played at least once. Filter out anyone who played fewer than ten games and Varly is 31st of 74 goalies, so top half. So a B- is a fair grade for Varly.
Final Grade: C+
Evaluating goalies isn't easy. There aren't many valuable data points to evaluate goalies from. And maybe you feel we're relying too heavily on data - And to a certain degree you might be right - but relying on data helps us stay away from biased arguments or narrative-based evaluations.
A C+ is a fair grade for Varlamov's season that as far from good but had it's moments.