A situation teams don’t always find themselves in is having a plethora of goalies at their disposal. The New York Rangers are one of the few teams that are lucky enough to be in this situation. With the Rangers having a franchise goalie in Henrik Lundqvist, they have been able to trade away past backups who have proven themselves as starting caliber goalies in the NHL.
Some of these goaltenders are Cam Talbot (Edmonton Oilers) and Antti Raanta (Arizona Coyotes), both of whom were acquired to be starters for their respective teams. This allowed the Rangers to draft or sign younger goalies so they can develop in the system. With a goalie coach like Benoit Allaire, the Rangers have turned backup goalies into starters.
This past season Allaire showed this once again with backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Georgiev was a bright spot in the Rangers’ tough season. In his first full season in the NHL, the Bulgarian native posted a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.91 and a save percentage of .914 in 33 games played. Those numbers were impressive coming from a 23 year-old rookie goalie playing with a young Rangers team in front of him. To put this into perspective, Lundqvist in 52 games played posted a GAA of 3.07 and a save percentage of .907 behind the same team. The young goalie was a bright standout for the newly coached Rangers.
The surprise of Georgiev was really quite refreshing. He signed with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent and ultimately won himself the backup goalie position in the preseason. Going undrafted and being on the smaller size, Georgiev had something to prove to the NHL. His skills and quickness help him overcome the fact that he is small. His quickness and work ethic will help him become better throughout his career.
Moving forward, it is uncertain what the Rangers will likely do with Georgiev. With the signing of the highly looked upon prospect Igor Shestyorkin, it is hard to tell what the Rangers will end up doing with Georgiev. He has certainly made his case for the team to consider him as a starter of the future, and who knows what he can accomplish with Allaire helping him develop.
The Rangers recently signed goalie prospect Shestyorkin, who is looked at to be the goalie who will compete with Georgiev for the backup goalie spot for next season. Shestyorkin is a highly anticipated prospect by the team, and think he and Georgiev could be a nice one-two punch as a tandem once Lundqvist hands over the reins.
Shestyorkin played in 28 games for the SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL last season posting a 24-3-1 record, with a 1.11 GAA, a .953 save percentage, and 10 shutouts. His GAA was the second best in KHL history, and his save percentage was tied for second-best in KHL history in a single season. With these statistics it is hard to not be excited for what the future holds for the Rangers netminders.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with these two goalies next season. They could always send one of them down to work on their game, while the other backs up Lundqvist. With both these goalies working with Allaire, it will be exciting to see how they grow and develop together.
There is still no question that Lundqvist is the starting goaltender for the Rangers. It was a rough season for Lundqvist, posting a GAA of 3.07, a save percentage of .907, and only 18 wins in 52 games played. This was Hank’s worst season of his career. This can largely be because of the transition of youth playing in front of him, but it is still his worst season. Moving forward it is no surprise that Lundqvist is getting older and might only have a few seasons left in him. Luckily for the Rangers, Lundqvist seems to be on board with helping this young team develop. This includes helping the young goalies who might be the future for this organization.
With that being said, next season will be a very interesting one with the goalie situation. We know that Lundqvist will be the guy, but it will be fun to see what the Rangers will do with Georgiev and Shestyorkin. The future of the Rangers’ goaltending is going to be a fun one.