The New York Rangers have the 2021-22 Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s best goalie in Igor Shesterkin, and if healthy, he’ll play the bulk of the 2022-23 season. They signed Jaroslav Halak during the offseason, and he should slot in as the regular backup. With the addition of Louis Domingue of “spicy pork and broccoli fame,” the third spot is likely his. However, a couple of goalies will be nipping at Domingue’s heels to secure their spot as the Rangers’ third goaltender to possibly see some time in the NHL if Shesterkin or Halak are out. Plus, with Halak’s age, you never know what will happen. Let’s break down the Blueshirts’ situation at netminder after Shesterkin.
2. Jaroslav Halak
Halak came over as a free agent from the Vancouver Canucks, where he played a limited backup role while also missing action due to COVID Protocol and a season-ending hand injury. He saw time in 17 games with 14 starts and was the goalie of record in thirteen of those games, ending up with a 4-7-2 record. The 37-year-old Slovak native had a 2.94 goals-against average (GAA) and a .903 save percentage (SV%).
The Rangers signed him for one year at $1.5 million, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) when the season ends. The veteran netminder has played in over 500 NHL games and has a career record of 285-180-64 with a 2.49 GAA. The Blueshirts will look for him to provide solid veteran relief for Shesterkin throughout the season.
3. Louis Domingue
Domingue came in during the Rangers’ 2021-22 first-round playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins and nearly stole the show. He made some spectacular saves after entering during the second overtime of Game 1 and helped the Penguins to a triple overtime victory. He started five of the seven games in the series while the Penguins’ top two goalies, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith, battled injuries. Domingue obviously made an impression on Rangers’ president and general manager (GM) Chris Drury, as Drury signed Domingue to a two-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $775,000.
Domingue has played in 142 NHL games in his career spanning eight seasons, but over the last three, he’s played in just four with three different teams. However, he’ll likely prove a capable number three goaltender for the Rangers when needed at different points during the season, and there’s always the possibility of another “spicy pork and broccoli” overtime triumph.
4. Dylan Garand
Dylan Garand signed an entry-level contract (ELC) with the Rangers in December of 2021, having played with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for five seasons. He recently helped Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2022 World Junior Championships (WJC) with a 1.92 GAA and .925 SV% in six games after he won the starting job over highly touted Detroit Red Wings prospect Sebastian Cossa. Last season with the Blazers, Garand had a 2.16 GAA and .925 SV% in 45 games.
At 6-foot, 173 pounds, Garand is on the smaller side but plays a well-positioned game in the crease and was named the 2021-22 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Goaltender of the Year. Rangers director of player development Jed Ortmeyer says, “He’s a pleasure to work with. He works extremely hard. He’s focused. He’s got pro-like habits already. Talking with his goalie coaches and our guys, he’s a pro on and off the ice. There’s a reason why his game is as sound as it is.” (from ‘NY Rangers 2022 prospect rankings: No. 5 brings ‘uncommon’ focus in net,’ lohud, 8/29/22.)
5. Olof Lindbom
Olof Lindbom played for Kristianstads IK in HockeyAllsvenskan — the second-tier Swedish pro league — where he had a 3.22 GAA and a .900 SV%. The 6-foot-2, 183-pound netminder from Stockholm, SWE, played for Mora IK in the same league the season before last and posted a 3.46 GAA and an .875 SV%. He’ll be looking to earn a spot with the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate (AHL), the Hartford Wolf Pack, but likely won’t see action in the NHL unless something drastic happens.
Looking to Solidify Their Spots
With the number two goalie spot pretty much set, it will be a battle throughout training camp between Domingue, Garand and Lindbom to impress the Rangers staff and personnel. Domingue is the early favorite to come out of camp as number three since Garand and Lindbom will probably need some seasoning in the minors before they can lay claim as the Rangers’ third-string goalie. However, it’s possible one of them could impress enough during camp and early on in the AHL to move up the chart quicker than predicted. Either way, the Rangers should be solid down the list in net this season.
Scott Blair is an author and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, by way of Detroit, MI. Uniquely diverse experiences have shaped Scott’s life in both of those places he calls home. He is now traveling the world, learning and growing as a human and a writer. He was a professional hockey player and then turned to the arts, becoming an actor for about 15 years. His passions turned to poetry, prose, politics, and journalism when he got tired of the Hollywood machine and what it represents. Scott is available for interviews and welcomes questions and topic ideas.