As we close the books on 2015 and welcome in 2016, it’s time to take a moment and look back on the top stories of the past year for the Colorado Avalanche
Backup Goaltending Situation
The goaltending in the 2014-15 season was unable to meet expectations. Many people were counting on Semyon Varlamov playing at the same level he had the year before when he was a Vezina Trophy runner-up, but a groin injury prevented him from doing so. Reto Berra was given the opportunity to take over, and he too sustained an injury early in the year. In came Calvin Pickard from the Lake Erie Monsters, who impressed many Avs followers with his skill. In 16 games played for the Avalanche, Pickard posted a .932 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. For a while, Pickard even maintained the starting role over Berra, as well as the backup role once Varly returned from his injury, sending Berra to the AHL for a five-game stint (where he even scored a goal). Berra’s three-year $4.35 million contract was appearing to be a terrible decision. At the end of the season, head coach Patrick Roy was not pleased with the way Berra had played and he publically challenged the goaltender, saying that he was really going to have to impress in the upcoming training camp to stay with the team. Berra spent the summer fighting for his NHL career and working hard with Avalanche goaltending coach Francois Allaire. Training camp and the preseason arrived and Berra was able to put together a strong first couple games to secure his job as the backup. The backup goaltender role in Colorado is an important one considering that the expected starter, Varlamov, is frequently bothered by a lingering injury.