This was one of the most talked about deals of deadline day, other than Richards-Watch.  The Avalanche trading a first round pick and a second to Washington for the RFA rights to  Semyon Varlamov.

This deal has been universally criticized by fans and media and this could herald the end of the road for Greg Sherman as GM of the Avalanche.  Leading up to the open market, the Avs were expected to sign Tomas Vokoun to a deal and it made a lot of sense, the two teams were pretty much made for each other.  I think with Vokoun in net, the Avs would have challenged for a playoff spot.  They may not have made it, but they would have been legitimate again.

Instead, it looks like the Avalanche bailed very quickly on Vokoun, we'll likely never know the reason.  They ended up trading for the rights to a player that wasn't going to be signing in Washington and the Caps were going to get nothing for.  The best comparison I can provide is the Jaroslav Halak deal that sent him from the Canadiens to the St. Louis Blues.  Halak led the Habs to the Eastern Conference Final and was showing he can be a great goalie.  The Blues sent Lars Eller (solid prospect) and Ian Schultz (fresh out of Junior) to Montreal for Halak.  In this case, the Avalanche traded what could be a lottery pick next season if Varlamov doesn't pan out for a goalie that has won a single playoff series and is already showing signs of having groin problems, though there are reports that his injury was mishandled in Washington.

The Avalanche grossly overpaid for Varlamov's services and it's just the latest in a series of suspect moves by GM Greg Sherman.  At the draft, Sherman sent defenceman John Michael Liles to Toronto for Boston's 2012 second rounder. Not to mention the deal that sent Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and a second rounder for Eric Johnson, Jay McClement and a first rounder (Duncan Siemans).  The last trade there still has to run it's course, but in all of these situations, Sherman has been regarded as 'losing' the deal by the media and fans.

When the trade announcement of acquiring Varlamov has more comments on the team's facebook post than likes, there is a serious problem.  That rarely happens in social media.  When media outlets are laughing at the deal... there is something even worse.  My question, is how can so many people see something wrong with this deal once it's made, but nobody in the Avalanche's front office takes a second and says, "Wait a second...".  It confuses me greatly.

Now, all ranting aside, the Avalanche did get a good goaltender, and this deal could very well work out just fine and everything will be hunky-dory in Avs-land.  I really like Varlamov as a goalie and was hoping the Avalanche would pick him up.  I think if he can stay healthy, there's a lot of potential for him to be an elite goalie.  There are a lot of 'ifs' though.  

One thing I would hope the Avalanche are looking in to is signing on a full time goalie coach to work with Varlamov and other eventual goalies in the system.  They took a good step in that direction signing J.S. Giguere to a two year deal, presumably to back up Varlamov or help out if things go sideways.

Greg Sherman is certainly rolling the dice with his draft picks in this situation, and if Varlamov tanks this season, it could be one of the last major moves he makes as an NHL GM.  

Guess we'll find out in October.

tom bergeron
8/6/2011 10:17:42 am

its time for the avs gm to get the fuck out. Seriously he is just throwing away draft picks when his team needs to build for the future. There is no quick fix for the problem it has to be tackled in the way of drafting young talent and developing that talent. If the avs aren't careful soon they are going to be in the same boat as calgary is, a team that fights every year for the last playoff spot with veterans but never gets close to winnning a stanley cup.

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