The New York Islanders were one of the NHL’s biggest surprises last season, and their stellar goaltender had a lot to do with it. On the first day of free agency, the team has made a change in the crease.
Vezina trophy candidate Robin Lehner is off to the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Islanders quickly responded to that move by signing veteran Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract.
A ten-year veteran in the league, Varlamov played the previous eight years with the Colorado Avalanche. Last season he finished with a 2.87 goals against average and .909 save percentage, both considerably worse than Lehner’s performances in the same categories.
Varlamov has had his peaks to go along with recent valleys, finishing as a Vezina runner-up himself in 2013-14 after posting a 2.41 goals against and .927 percentage.
A four-year commitment may be a bit of a head scratcher for a 31-year-old goalie coming off a slightly down year, but perhaps the Islanders believe they can find some of the same magic that turned Lehner into one of the top goaltenders in hockey.
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