Rangers: 4 Trade Destinations for Alexandar Georgiev

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev has had an interesting season in 2021-22. He had a disastrous first two months before improving his play during December after starting goalie Igor Shesterkin suffered an injury. While the Rangers would benefit from keeping their backup for the remainder of the season, there are several teams where the Ruse, Bulgaria native could be a starting goaltender.

Georgiev has a 7-7-2 record, a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.99, and a save percentage (SV%) of .898 in 20 games this season, while Shesterkin has been dominant for the Rangers. Barring injury, Shesterkin will continue to receive the majority of starts, while Georgiev will be a restricted free agent (RFA) this offseason and will be traded either by the trading deadline or in the summer. Here are four possible trade destinations.

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers have two goaltenders who will be unrestricted free agents (UFA) shortly. Mikko Koskinen, 33, will be a UFA after 2021-22 and Mike Smith, 39, is eligible for free agency at the end of next season. Georgiev turned 26 on Feb. 10 and would provide the Oilers with a number one goalie for 2022-23. Trading for him would allow Smith to be the backup again in the last year of his contract.

Edmonton has had an inconsistent season that resulted in a coaching change. They have played better since Jay Woodcroft was named head coach on Feb. 10; now in third place in the competitive Pacific Division and looking to not waste another stellar season from Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.

If the Rangers still have Georgiev on their roster after the trade deadline passes, it’s unlikely they will match an offer sheet extended by another team this offseason. New York would receive draft picks depending on the average annual value (AAV) agreed to as part of the offer sheet, and if president/general manager (GM) Chris Drury agrees to trade the 26-year-old netminder, they would receive a draft pick – a third-round selection or higher.

Alexandar Georgiev
Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Edmonton needs a goaltender. If Oilers GM Ken Holland wanted to acquire Georgiev to be the team’s starting goaltender, he and Drury could agree to add more players in a potential deal. Vitali Kravtsov, Nils Lundkvist, and Zac Jones are young Rangers who may be traded by the start of next season.

Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights starting goalie Robin Lehner suffered an upper-body injury and was placed on injured reserve (IR). Head coach Peter DeBoer does not believe Vegas’ starter will miss too much time; however, the Golden Knights have expressed interest in Georgiev’s availability ahead of the deadline.

Lehner is signed for three more seasons with a $5 million AAV. However, Jack Eichel was activated recently, and Vegas will need to clear some salary to compensate for the forward’s hefty $10 million AAV. Vegas might consider trading for Georgiev if their starting goalie is on IR longer than anticipated and backup Laurent Brossoit struggles at the position.

If GM Kelly McCrimmon is willing to take a chance on trading Lehner this offseason, Vegas will have an opening for another starting goaltender. According to Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff, Georgiev has expressed his desire to play elsewhere, given that Shesterkin is New York’s future starter. The Golden Knights would represent an opportunity for the Rangers’ backup to start for a franchise that has been a consistent competitor since their inception a few years ago. Vegas could offer a third-round draft pick if they ended up having a need at the position by the March 21 deadline.

Colorado Avalanche

Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz are both UFAs at the end of the season, and Georgiev is younger than both. He would have an opportunity to claim the number one spot during the offseason if one or both of the Avalanche’s goalies do not return. Kuemper has a record of 25-6-2, a 2.47 GAA, and an SV% of .919 in 36 games, so he may test his value in free agency if he finishes the season well.

Related: Coyotes Trade Kuemper to Avalanche for Timmins, Picks

If Kuemper receives a generous offer in free agency, GM Joe Sakic might be looking for another goaltender with starting experience. Francouz has 45 career starts in three seasons in the NHL, and Georgiev has played in several more games. The Rangers’ backup would have the opportunity to play for one of the elite teams in Colorado if Sakic were to trade a mid-round draft pick for him by the 2022 NHL Draft.

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Kuemper is playing well for the Avalanche. Unless he suffers a long-term injury by the deadline, it’s unlikely Colorado attempts to trade for Georgiev by March 21. If Sakic does not re-sign either of his UFA goaltenders, New York’s backup could be a consideration for the Avalanche heading into 2022-23.

Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals may not be a suitor for Georgiev at the deadline – because Washington and New York are competing in the Metropolitan Division – but the Capitals are in the market to add a netminder. If they were to acquire a netminder like UFA Marc-Andre Fleury by March 21, GM Brian MacLellan may be looking to trade for another goalie during the offseason, given Fleury’s age and pending free-agent status.

Vitek Vanecek, Washington Capitals
Vitek Vanecek, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ilya Samsonov will be an RFA, and Vitek Vanecek will be a UFA after the season. If the Capitals need a new starter, the team could trade for Georgiev and give up a mid-round pick by the draft. Washington has lacked a number one goaltender since Braden Holtby left in free agency before the 2020-21 season. Vanecek has played well this season, but Washington may choose not to offer him another contract.

Georgiev’s future is not with the Rangers, and he could be elsewhere as soon as the deadline. If he remains with New York after March 21, he will likely be with another organization by the start of the 2022-23 season. His goal is to have another opportunity to be a starting goaltender during next year’s training camp.

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