Theres a lot being made of the Avs trading two high draft choices for Varlamov, who till this date has yet to secure the starting goaltender role from JS Giguere. Varlamov, a 23 year old former first round draft pick has amassed a total of 90 games over 3 seasons in the NHL, with a record of 44-29-13 GAA of 2.60 and a .910 SV%.
Just for a comparison, 23 year old Jonathan Bernier of the LA Kings, who is rumoured to be on the trading block, was drafted 11th overall ahead of Varlamov in the same draft. He has played a total of 42 games holding a record of 18-16-4 with a GAA of 2.58 and a .908 SV%.
I make this comparison only because there is no doubt in my mind that Bernier is valued higher by the general consensus than Varly, as such he should fetch quite a similar haul, if not more, than the Capitals obtained. If you look closer at the two, Varlamov has been a starting netminder, he has playoff experience and really at 23 has accomplished a lot more than people expect from a goalie after hes drafted.
A short list of goalies taken in that same draft: Michal Neuvirth, Jhonas Enroth, Steve Mason. None of which has taken a starting role, Mason being one who is also struggling as of late (downside here being his contract).
Point being is that goalies take time to develop. Not every team has the luxury of drafting a Price or Fleury and having them step right in and take the reigns. Varlamov is an investment, just as Bernier will be to another team as is every other goalie that comes out of a draft. Theres no point in moaning over this trade. The Avs wouldnt have been able to draft someone that could start in 2-3 years time consistently, and a 1st round pick would certainly not have yielded someone with as much potential as Varlamov. Hes been in the big show, hes had a taste of the playoffs, and when he turns the corner ( I'm a firm believer he will) there will be a lot of people thanking Sherman for taking the risk, whether or not he's still the GM when that happens.