So much for those reports that said there was a good chance Darcy Kuemper would be back. So far in my Colorado Avalanche free-agent predictions, I’m 2-for-2, with Kuemper leaving and Andrew Cogliano staying. I don’t think too many foresaw the acquisition of Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers, however.
The Avalanche better be right on this guy. He is now projected as the Avalanche’s No. 1 goalie, but he hasn’t proven much of anything in the NHL yet. He’s had a couple of decent seasons for the Rangers, but he’s often been a backup in his career, too. When you read about his time with the Rangers, there were a lot of ups and downs, and it didn’t seem like he got on with management too well at times, over a lack of playing time.
Well, he’s got his chance to be a legit No. 1 now. Is this the guy to lead the Avalanche into the next “era”, for lack of a better word? His save percentage this past season was an unattractive looking .898. It’s .909 for his career, though, and there’s no doubt he’ll be playing in front of a better defense than he had in New York.
My sources indicate that Marc-Andre Fleury would have liked to have come to the Avalanche, that he was hopeful. But he quickly signed a two-year, $7 million deal to stay with the Minnesota Wild, after the Georgiev deal.
This deal has similar aspects to the Semyon Varlamov deal about 11 years ago. The Avalanche get a young Russian goalie (though he was born in Bulgaria) who couldn’t quite break out with the team that drafted him, and on he comes to Colorado to be the new, top guy. The Avalanche got a couple of great years out of Varlamov, but overall his time here was a tad disappointing. He never won a playoff round as a starter here. Georgiev even has Varly’s old number (40).
Now, Georgiev is the new No. 1 on a defending Stanley Cup team. No pressure. But when you hear more about the 26-year-old, 6-foot-1, 179-pound netminder, it seems that he welcomes the pressure, that he wants the pressure. He is expected to sign a new contract with the Avs in the coming days. I would bet something like a three-year, $9 million deal. He went 8-1-0 in his last nine starts for the Rangers. Clearly, he’s got potential. Why he was never drafted by an NHL team remains something of a mystery, though. Were all the scouts wrong on him?
We’ll find out more when the puck drops Oct. 12 against the Chicago Blackhawks.