This season, the Colorado Avalanche have showcased the good, the bad and the ugly. Recently, it has been nothing but ugly for this Avalanche team.
After getting shut out 3-0 against the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday night, the Avalanche have now lost nine of their last 10 games and have only registered four points during this stretch. However, this slump has lasted longer than these past 10 contests. Since the start of December, the Avalanche are 5-11-3 in their last 19 games.
As of right now, their 20-17-8 record and 48 points barely puts them in the first wild card spot with the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks right behind them with 47.
Goaltending has been a major issue for the Avalanche for most of this season. Semyon Varlamov has performed okay this year but nowhere near starting caliber. The 30-year-old currently has a .909 save percentage, 2.82 goals against average and 11-10-5 record this season.
Philipp Grubauer, who was recently acquired over the offseason from the Washington Capitals, hasn’t been much better. The 26-year-old German native currently has a .896 save percentage, 3.29 goals against average and a 9-5-3 record this year.
Their lackluster goaltending was exposed during the back to back games against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night and the Calgary Flames on Wednesday evening. On both occasions, the Avalanche out performed the two high-caliber hockey clubs. The Avalanche outshot the Jets by a margin of 41 to 21 and the Flames by more than a two to one ratio of 35 to 16.
However, the Avalanche ended up losing 7-4 to the Jets and 5-3 to the Flames because their goaltenders were unable to come up with a timely save. Grubauer let in six goals on just 20 shots against the Jets while Varlamov surrendered four goals against the Flames despite only facing 15 shots in nearly 60 minutes of play.
For the most part, the Avalanche’s performance deserved four points out of those two games. Instead, the team walked away with zero. The moral of the story is that no matter how solid the defensive effort is. If the team’s goalie is only stopping the puck 70 percent of the time, it’s nearly impossible to win a game.
If the Avalanche don’t solve this problem soon, their chances of missing the playoffs become more and more likely. It seems that a trade might be necessary to keep the Avalanche afloat in the Western Conference.
When researching potential suitors, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky appears to be a solid option. Career wise, Bobrovsky has an impressive .919 save percentage, 2.48 goals against average and 237-142-37 record. The 30-year-old also has won two Vezina Trophies according to Hockey Reference.
Although Bobrovsky has had somewhat of a down year. The Russian native has still been effective with a .903 save percentage, 2.94 goals against average and 19-13-1 record.
However, the main reason for why Bobrovsky fits well for this trade is his current circumstances with the Blue Jackets. It appears that Bobrovsky’s interest in playing for the Blue Jackets has decreased as of late. Bobrovsky was recently suspended from Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators after failing to meet “team expectations and values” according to NHL Discussion.
It also appears that the coaching staff and management for the Blue Jackets is starting to decrease Bobrovsky’s role on the team. Head coach John Tortorella has been giving backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo a solid amount of starts this season and has seen successful results. The 24-year-old currently has a record of 8-2-2.
The big question is what should general manager Joe Sakic and the Avalanche offer in order to acquire Bobrovsky. A fair trade would be Bobrovsky for Varlamov, forward Tyson Jost and a second-round pick.
Since Bobrovsky has had a more impressive career than Varlamov, the Avalanche would need to fork over more than just a goaltender of their own. However, this trade would work well in each team’s favor.
Both goaltenders are in the last year of their contracts and will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. This deal allows both teams to gain necessary pieces by trading their goalies who are most likely not going to be resigned and will end up being taken during free agency. The Blue Jackets gain a little bit of depth and a decent pick while the Avalanche solve their goaltending problem.