The Avalanche Don't Know A Goalie When They See One
It was late in the 2009-10 season and the Colorado Avalanche were in an improbable position. Just one year prior they finished with only 69 points which was good enough for dead last in the Western Conference, but now Matt Duchene could send them to the post-season with a shootout goal against the Vancouver Canucks. Duchene calmly walked in and slid the puck to his forehand and buried it past Roberto Luongo. The Avs poured onto the ice in celebration of their trip to the post-season.
That moment, however, must seem like a lifetime ago for Avalanche fans. The team promptly followed that year up by finishing 14th in the West in 2010-11 and 11th in 2011-12. This season things have gotten even worse as Colorado has been abysmal and sit in second last place in the entire league, which culminated last week in a rant by goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The Avalanche netminder had seen enough of his team's effort and said many players were more worried about their summer trip to Vegas than finishing out the season.
Now Giguere has a right to complain as he has performed admirably in 2012-13 in limited action, but starter Semyon Varlamov has not played as well. Varlamov has a save percentage barely above .900 and a goals against average over three. That's not going to get it done in this league and Colorado as a team currently sits 22nd overall in save percentage in the NHL.
With that being said, what should be more frustrating to the Avalanche is the current play of some of their former goaltenders and how easily the organization let them go. Craig Anderson should be the first name that comes to mind and this season
he has been a fantasy stud with Ottawa. Despite missing substantial time with an ankle injury, Anderson is still getting some Vezina consideration with a .949 save percentage and 1.52 goals against average to go along with three shutouts.
Even though Anderson has upped his game with the Senators, it's a little surprising (considering his career statistics) that the Avalanche gave up on him so quickly. In three seasons with the Florida Panthers before arriving in Colorado, Anderson had save percentages of .931, .935, and .924 respectively. His first year with the Avalanche was the aforementioned 2009-10 season, and his stellar play was the only reason Colorado even made it to the playoffs.
Anderson's numbers slid a little the next year in the first half of the season to a .897 mark and a goals against of over 3.00, and the Avalanche simply gave up on him. He was dealt to the Senators after just 33 games that year and the stretch was an anomaly in an otherwise solid career. When he arrived in Ottawa h