Calvin Pickard, like anyone who dreamt of playing in the NHL as a child would, is thoroughly enjoying his time with the Avalanche.

Chirping his teammates after a good save, preparing for their shots in unorthodox stances and high-fiving team employees and media on his way off the ice are just a few ways Pickard makes it obvious that he is happy and having a blast in the NHL.

“You want to come to work everyday and have fun and have a smile on your face,” Pickard told Mile High Sports. “Coming up from the minors, it has always seemed like the mood is good around here, regardless of how things are going and that’s what everybody wants. Everybody wants to be happy coming to the rink and have a smile on their faces and that’s kind of what I want to bring as well.”

Of course, Calvin Pickard saves his playfulness for when the time is right. When it comes to hard work and improving his game, he takes it very seriously. His hard work is vindicated by his statistics this year, posting a solid .921 save percentage and a decent 2.61 goals against average.

Pickard’s work with Avalanche goaltending coach Francois Allaire helps keep his game sharp, especially when he is not seeing game minutes. This has been vital for him, as he has started only 11 of the last 32 games for Colorado.

“Working with Francois is great,” Pickard said. “He doesn’t want to make the game too complex. He wants to keep it simple; remain inside your crease and be in the right position for most shots.”

Allaire and Pickard work on very specific situations, analyzing individual plays and how Pickard should react in each circumstance.

“We usually get out there for 20-25 minutes and get warmed up, do a few drills from scenarios and watch video as well,” Pickard explained. “We really drill down the basics but we also work on different scenarios that we see in games quite often.”

Along with learning from Francois Allaire, Pickard does what he can to pick up useful aspects of Colorado’s starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s game:

“There is so much intensity in his game and he’s so quick. He’s so good at pushing from A to B. He’s got a lot of fire in his game.”

Calvin Pickard’s positive attitude and attention to improving his craft have definitely come in handy during his time in the NHL this season. This is due to the fact that Pickard faces more five-on-five shots per 60 minutes than any goaltender in the NHL on average, according to In five-on-five play, Pickard’s numbers improve, although only slightly, with a .924 save percentage and 2.52 goals against.

An improvement in numbers while facing the most shots in the league per 60 minutes speaks to his maturity and how prepared he is to stay in the NHL full-time, be it as a back up or in a starting role.

With only 13 games and just under one calendar month remaining, the Colorado Avalanche face a make-or-break portion of their season. It is unclear when Pickard will get his next start, but there is no doubt head coach Patrick Roy has full faith in Pickard’s ability to get the job done and trusts him in any scenario.

His performance, professionalism and positive attitude have made Pickard an ideal backup goaltender in Denver, now and in the future.