Semyon Varlamov could be an attractive trade target for a playoff contender needing to shore up its goaltending, and his 44-save effort in the Islanders’ 5-4 loss to the NHL-leading Avalanche on Monday night certainly was a good showcase.
"Lots of big saves from Varly," Anthony Beauvillier said. "It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get the win for him."
Varlamov was the Islanders’ playoff starter for back-to-back runs to the NHL semifinals, but they might be willing to move him with one season remaining on his four-year, $20 million deal in advance of the trade deadline on March 21.
That’s because Ilya Sorokin has emerged as their No. 1 goalie, in part because Varlamov started this season hurt and also missed time in COVID-19 quarantine in Calgary. Sorokin started 11 of the previous 13 games, but Barry Trotz said the workload will be shared more going forward.
"We’ve got to play them both," he said. "We’re playing 30 games in 50 days. We’ve got to stretch it out here a little bit. We’re playing four or five games a week. We’re looking at it game by game here."
Of course, playing Varlamov more regularly would mean further showcases for potential trade partners.
Casey Cizikas said Varlamov has not let any trade rumors affect him.
"He’s a professional," he said. "He’s going out there and he’s competing every single night for us. He’s giving us chances to win games. He’s been unbelievable in our dressing room."
Czarnik is back
The Islanders didn’t want to lose depth forward Austin Czarnik on waivers to the expansion Seattle Kraken on Feb. 8. They were more than happy to claim him back on Sunday.
"He gives us some depth," Trotz said. "We start playing all these games, you start getting nicked up. He can play in multiple positions and give you some really good minutes, so we’re glad to have him back in the organization."
For now, Czarnik has been reassigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He has two goals and three assists in 15 games in two seasons for the Islanders and also has played for the Bruins and Flames.
Mathew Barzal (lower body) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (upper body) remain day-to-day as each missed his fifth straight game. "They do the rehab and then they go on the ice by themselves," Trotz said. "Once they can get to the point where they can join us on a regular basis, they will do that. They’re in different phases of that." . . . Defenseman Parker Wotherspoon was reassigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport . . . Ross Johnston and Otto Koivula were the healthy scratches . . . Every Islanders skater had at least one shot against the Avalanche, led by defenseman Noah Dobson’s five . . . Anders Lee (two goals, one assist) had his first three-point game since Feb. 23, 2020, and his third two-goal game this season . . . Brock Nelson’s third-period goal was his team-leading 21st. His career high is 26 . . . Jean-Gabriel Pageau logged a season-high 23:04 of ice time.