James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Varlamov and Giguere

Thursday, October 31, 2013

At the beginning of this week, I wrote Daily Doses laced with delight. After all, few things get the geeky senses tingling quite like a trade that could go in any number of directions for the teams involved. That was the great gift of the Thomas Vanek - Matt Moulson swap.


Wednesday night showed possibly the polar opposite of that feeling: when a legal issue surfaces. In case you missed it, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov turned himself into Denver County Jail on Wednesday after drawing domestic violence-related charges.To be more specific, he's charged with second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault. That kidnapping charge could end up being a class four felony, which has the potential to carry a sentence of 2-6 years.


Beyond the basics, a lot of the details are fuzzy right now and the whole situation is generally uncomfortable.


It’s not the DD’s job to make wild assumptions about a player’s legal issues. A lot can surface that may move the needle of public perception one way or another. It can all blow over or it can just as easily get a lot worse.


Instead of speculating or demonizing, I’ll instead get into the fantasy impact. Which means, with the limited information available right now, I’ll mainly focus on Jean-Sebastien Giguere.




Before that, let’s address Varlamov. I can’t say for sure if you should go push the red button and drop him just this moment. There are a lot of different possibilities. It’s common for legal issues to be pushed into the future, even for normal people (Varlamov was placed in a cell by himself because of his “celebrity”). One can look at situations like Nikolai Khabibulin heading to “Tent City” to see how these things aren’t always resolved right away.


There’s also the possibility of the NHL or Avalanche suspending him, and that can get sticky too (innocent before proven guilty, etc.).


In other words, don’t expect a bunch of tasteless Patrick Roy jokes in this space; you can find them just about anywhere else on the Internet. Still, it actually is wise to consider Roy’s 2001 incident. I highly recommend reading up on Adrian Dater’s memories of the somewhat similar legal issues Roy went through - and how Varlamov’s situation might parallel it - in the Denver Post:


It’s important to note that Roy kept on playing for the Avs while this whole case was going through the court system and eventually dropped. I know it was a tough time for him and his family, though. And I know it’s a stain on his career that he isn’t happy about and really regrets. But Roy still managed to win a Stanley Cup that year, along with a Conn Smythe Trophy.


So, again, it’s not safe to assume that Varlamov’s career is over. It could be in jeopardy - much like his freedom - at some point.


Really, the message is: wait and see. And maybe drop a marginal skater for a Plan B in net. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can even grab the guy I’m about to discuss.


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Thursday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.


For everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News and follow @Rotoworld_ HK+@cyclelikesedins on Twitter.


Oh, and there’s still plenty of time to join a Yahoo! Hockey Pool, so get on that.




So, the first question is: can you even add Jean-Sebastien Giguere? The answer is: probably not, but if you can, now is the time.


A little past midnight, Giguere was owned in 48 percent of Yahoo Leagues. As this column goes up around 4 a.m. ET, that number already jumped to 50.


In ESPN leagues, it appears he’s already owned at a level of 71 percent, so you really have to hustle in that format.


My guess is that supplies are really going to run out as more and more people who were sleeping/watching the World Series and then sleeping last night will be catching wind of the Varlamov news - and Giguere’s likely benefit - with each passing hour.


If you’re waiting on pins and needles for the green light to grab Giguere, go ahead and do it. Again, I’d recommend dropping a marginal forward or defenseman for Giguere (or a Plan B) instead of cutting ties with Varlamov right at this moment.




But how valuable is Giguere?


First, let’s look at his work with the Avalanche.


2011-12: 32 GP - 14-11-3, .919 save percentage and 2.27 GAA

2012-13: 18 GP - 5-4-4, .908 save percentage and 2.84 GAA

2013-14: 3 GP - 3-0-0, .981 save percentage and .67 GAA


Obviously, his stats will drop this season. That’s likely even in his next start, whether he wins or loses (Colorado next plays against the Stars in Dallas on Friday).


Still, what I like to see there is the quantity overall and the quality in 2011-12. Varlamov’s injuries have opened the door for Giguere to be one of the more regular workers among backups. It’s also worth noting that while Jiggy’s numbers dipped last season, that happened when the Avalanche were truly in meltdown mode. At times, he was one of the few bright spots for the team not named Matt Duchene in 2012-13.


Career-wise, you probably know the drill with Giguere. He’s a Stanley Cup champion and one of those rare players who won the Conn Smythe on a losing team. Not every season with Anaheim was brilliant - and there were some tough times in Toronto - but his overall stats are pretty nice. After all, it's hard to argue with a No. 2's chances of becoming a No. 1 when you consider his career .913 save percentage.


The cherry (and icing) on top is that he’s in a contract year. So if Giguere really does get a nice run of games, he has every reason to capitalize.


Again, circling back to the Varlamov mystery, it’s foolish to assume too much. Don’t trade a quality player for Giguere, especially since Colorado seems primed to regress anyway. Still, if you can add him, do it. DO IT.


After the jump: quick game summaries and more.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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