Isles Hot Seat: Player Report Card: Semyon Varlamov
I think it’s safe to say nobody was a fan of letting Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner leave the Island, to have former Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov take his place.
Well, Varly shut us all up.
Varlamov's campaign didn’t start off to the best of starts, losing his debut matchup in the Coliseum to the Capitals, another former team of his. But once he got the ball rolling, he along with, former Islander Thomas Greiss were virtually unstoppable, having a near-perfect October and November record, notching a combined 15-0-1, helping the Islanders record a 16 game point streak in the process, the longest in Islanders history since 1982-83.
Like any goalie, or player for that matter, there were cold streaks on the way, but his play was able to secure the Islanders enough space in the standings to qualify for the expanded NHL playoffs. Though they should not have been there (as far as a normal NHL Playoff format would say), Varly made the most out of his opportunity in the playoffs, becoming once again, virtually untouchable. He helped the Islanders march past the Panthers, 3-1, and then did the same thing over again with the Capitals. Varlamov's’ heat, unfortunately, started to cool down. With a 3-1 series lead, he allowed the Flyers to battle back to force a Game 7, which he would stay the backup to Thomas Greiss for. Greiss would also get the nod for Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals, and then Varlamov would get the pipes for what would be the last playoff series for the Isles, as they would fall to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Although Varlamov's’ arrival to Long Island was not very well received, he quickly became a loved player by the Islanders fans. Varlamov has three more years left on the Island, and with good friend Ilya Sorokin, the Islanders will have a powerhouse goaltending tandem in net for the years forward.