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Avalanche expect healthy Semyon Varlamov in 2017-18

GM Joe Sakic says goaltender should be recovered from hip surgery that ended this season

NHL.com @NHL

The Colorado Avalanche aren't worried about the health of No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov, who had season-ending hip surgery on Jan. 26, general manager Joe Sakic said Thursday.

"I expect him to be fully healthy next year," Sakic told The Denver Post on Thursday. "He's had the problems with his groin the last couple of years, and this year, but he's a worker, he cares, he's a guy who puts a lot of pressure on that area the way he plays."

Varlamov has missed time on three occasions this season because of a hip/groin injury which has limited him to 24 games (6-17-0, 3.38 goals-against average, .898 save percentage). He also dealt with injuries in the previous two seasons, having played in 57 games in 2015-16 and 2014-15, one season after he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Varlamov made 60 starts and was 41-14-6 with a 2.41 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts in 2013-14.

Sakic attributed some of Varlamov's poor play to the injuries.

"We're very confident by doing this procedure, he's going to be back where he once was," Sakic said. I think it's going to be a lot better mentally for him, that he's not one push away from pulling his groin. I know that this year was a tough year for him mentally. In your head, it's almost, 'When's the next time it's going to pull?' By doing this, we're confident he'll be back to 100 percent and have this behind him and he can just focus on playing."

Varlamov, 28, is in the third year of a five-year contract that has an average annual value of $5.9 million, according to capfriendly.com.

In his absence, Calvin Pickard has made 27 starts (9-17-1, 3.02 GAA, .904 SV%), Spencer Martin has made three and Jeremy Smith has made one.

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