Las Vegas chooses Avalanche’s Calvin Pickard in expansion draft

Colorado opted to expose Pickard instead of Semyon Varlamov, who is 29 years old and coming off groin surgery that cost him 58 games last season.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights snatched up Calvin Pickard in the expansion draft. ( Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)
The Las Vegas Golden Knights snatched up Calvin Pickard in the expansion draft. ( Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)
The Las Vegas Golden Knights snatched up Calvin Pickard in the expansion draft. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

The Colorado Avalanche have a hole to fill at goalie. Wednesday night, the Las Vegas Golden Knights snatched up Avalanche net minder Calvin Pickard in the expansion draft.

Colorado opted to expose Pickard instead of Semyon Varlamov, who is 29 years old and coming off groin surgery that cost him 58 games last season.

Pickard started 48 games last season and posted an .898 save percentage. That ranked 39th in the NHL. Varlamov was even worse, finishing with an .898 save percentage.

Pickard was the younger, cheaper option between the two. He is 25 and only owed $1.075 million for the 2017-18 season. Varlamov is under contract through 2019 at $5.9 million per year.

The Avalanche will need Varlamov to bounce back in 2018-19. He’s steadily declined since finishing as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2014. That season, he finished with a .927 save percentage. That number has dropped every season since then.

Colorado could call upon Spencer Martin to eat up backup minutes next year. But the 21-year-old struggled in limited action at the NHL level when Varlamov went down.

The team could also address its goalie situation in free agency, which begins July 1.

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Christian Clark

Author: Christian Clark

Christian Clark covers sports. He's worked for outlets that include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, Columbia Missourian and Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine. He likes music and Mexican food. Lots and lots of Mexican food. Got questions? Tips? You can reach him at cclark@denverite.com.