Colorado Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard is still too far down on the depth chart to see significant NHL time this season, but Pickard earned a spot start Monday thanks to an injury to Avalanche backup Reto Berra. The 23-year-old Pickard stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced to help the Avalanche to a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks Monday.
Perhaps best of all was the praise Pickard received from coach and goaltending legend Patrick Roy following the win.
Pickard, a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, spent significant time with the Avalanche last fall when starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov was out with injuries and Berra was struggling in net. Pickard became the starting goaltender for the Avs for a few weeks last November and December while Varlamov continued to heal, but he was ultimately sent down to the AHL once Varlamov was back at 100 percent in order for Pickard to enhance his development by getting more starts in net.
Pickard is back in the AHL this season and owns a 9-8-4 record with a .917 save percentage in 21 games for the San Antonio Rampage. The goalie got off to a hot start with a 5-0-1 record and .946 save percentage in October, but he hit a few rough patches since to go 4-8-3 over his next 15 games.
Monday's game might be Pickard's only appearance of this call-up, as Berra was expected to miss 10 days with an ankle injury he suffered on Dec. 21, but the strong performance is sure to help Pickard remain as another option in net should Varlamov or Berra struggle in the future.
“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Roy said. “Last year, he played really well for us. I was very confident he'd offer a good performance and that's exactly what he did. He's a fighter out there, he battles hard and he never quits.”