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3 potential landing spots for Semyon Varlamov in NHL free agency

Semyon Varlamov is poised to be one of the best NHL free agents available this offseason with a wide variety of teams expected to pursue the veteran goaltender.

Teams are allowed to re-sign their own players, or poach veterans, superstars — and even Stanley Cup champions — from other clubs. While a ton of names are avaialble, there are a few key players that have many possible options for their future. One of those names includes Varlamov, who lost the starting goaltending job for the New York Islanders to superstar Ilya Sorokin.

Varlamov is a solid netminder, and could easily slot into a starting role on another team, leaving the Islanders to find another backup. The 35-year-old could very well have a few years on the ice left in him, so he could be a viable offseason target for a few clubs struggling in that area. Here are three potential landing spots for Varlamov.

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Edmonton Oilers

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche
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The Oilers struggled between the pipes this season, with both Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell going long stretches without finding their groove. Varlamov could be the veteran the club needs, and provide steadiness in the blue paint. He could play a season or two and then hang up his skates, offering the rookie Skinner the time to grow into his own confidence in the NHL. Varlamov has experience in doing just this in New York, where he helped Sorokin feel comfortable in the NHL.

  • Semyon Varlamov contract: $4 million base salary in 2022-’23

According to CapFriendly, Varlamov’s contract with the Islanders carried an average annual value of $5 million. But, since he is aging, the Oilers could likely sign him for a lesser amount, and opt to buy out Jack Campbell or trade him to a team like Arizona or Columbus, who struggle to meet the cap floor. Edmonton made a deep run with veteran netminder Mike Smith, and could look to do the same with Varlamov in the last few years of his career.

Seattle Kraken

NHL: Seattle Kraken at New York Islanders
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With Martin Jones also an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, the Kraken could opt to upgrade their goaltending and sign Varlamov to a short-term deal with an AAV similar to Jones’ $2 million contract. He could provide a veteran presence on the league’s newest team and, running a split-load situation with Philipp Grubauer, could be a valuable asset to a decently young team.

  • Semyon Varlamov playoff stats: .919 SV%, 2.42 GAA, 31-27 record

The Kraken have tons of cap room to sign Varlamov and don’t have very many UFAs to deal with this offseason. It seems like the perfect recipe for the Kraken to make a goaltending move, and one with a relatively low risk as Varlamov will likely agree to a shorter-term deal.

Los Angeles Kings

NHL: New York Islanders at Los Angeles Kings
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The Los Angeles Kings are in a weird spot with their goaltending, as they acquired Joonas Korpisalo from the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he too is a UFA at the end of the year. The club could opt to make a change in net, favouring a veteran presence who could take Phoenix Copley under his wing.

The Kings have a weird salary cap situation and could acquire Varlamov as a reliable option as the team waits out the dead contract in Brad Richards and Anze Kopitar’s huge deal. Varlamov could come at a relatively inexpensive price, especially considering his age, and help the Kings’ dismal goals against average and special teams numbers. He could work in tandem with Copley and, like he did for Sorokin, offer some stability and leadership as Copley learns to handle his own in the NHL.