Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Report Card: Semyon Varlamov

Careful! You'll pop your gr-...oh, no. Not again.
Today I bring you the fifteenth installment in my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital throughout this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is Russian goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who finished his third season within the organization this year.

Stats/Season Summary: Varlamov struggled with injuries for the second season in a row, and as a result, was only able to play in 27 games, 25 of them starts. When he was able to play, however, he was very good, compiling a 2.23 GAA, .924 save percentage, and two shutouts.  He only won 11 games, but that was largely in part due to awful goal support, which was near the bottom of the league in terms of average goals per game.  He was simply magnificent for stretches, particularly around the turn of the year, which included his excellent performance in the Winter Classic. Grade: B+
Role Play: Coming into the season, Varlamov was the presumptive number one goalie, but he got hurt in camp and as a result was never able to seize that role, which eventually was taken by Michal Neuvirth.  His job became the 1A goalie, the one with the talent but not the groin to play big minutes, and he filled that very well with stretches of brilliant play that helped the Caps win games.  Like I said before, he was very good pretty much all season, but just was never healthy for a long stretch.  He accepted his job with class as the year wound down, and he deserves props for that. Grade: B+
Playoffs: Though healthy, Varly did not get a start in the 2011 playoffs.
Future Potential: A restricted free agent, Varlamov has the talent to be an elite NHL goalie, but it all comes down to health with him.  He has proven that he can get the job done if his legs stay on.  DC owns his NHL rights no matter what, though he could got to the KHL, but ultimately, I think that the Caps will trade him. But no matter where he ends up, it will be with considerable risk, despite his elite talent. Grade: B+
The next report card will be posted on May 25th, and will feature center Jason Arnott.

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