Semyon Aleksandrovich Varlamov
Born April 27, 1988 (age 23) in Kuybyshev, RSFSR, USSR (now Samara, Russia)
Goaltender for the Colorado Avalanche
This little creep’s gonna be a thorn in the collective side of my boys for the next two games. Varly got his start in net when he was eight years old because he didn’t like the bandy sticks the midget leagues were using. He then moved on to play with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s junior team when he was a teenager, becoming their starting goalie when he was 17 and leading them to the Russian Super League finals in 2008. He spent two years with Lokomotiv after he was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2006, and he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Caps in 2007 before heading to the Hershey Bears for the 2009-09 season. He was called up several times, making his NHL debut on December 13, 2008, and when Brent Johnson became injured, Varly became backup to fellow MotD honoree Jose Theodore. In 2009 he made his playoff debut, making an awesome save in the first game of the second round that amazed even Sidney Crosby.
For the 2009-10 season, Varly was ready to battle it out for the backup spot behind Jose, but he was injured and sent back to Hershey. When he was called back to Washington in March 2010, be became the backup and spent time in net for the playoffs again. When Jose was let go, everyone thought Varly would be starter until Michal Neuvirth took that spot. The 2010-11 season saw the net situation become a round of Musical Goalies, with Varly – now sporting the number 1 instead of 40 – dancing around with Braden Holtby for the backup spot. But on July 1 of this year, Free Agent Day, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for future draft picks. So far, young Varly has been a brick wall, earning him the nickname Varlamonster – he even registered his first shutout of the season and the fifth of his career. With the way he’s been playing lately, how are we supposed to win any games against this guy?