After two seasons of trade rumors surrounding Alexandar Georgiev, the New York Rangers finally decided to trade their backup goaltender to the Colorado Avalanche this offseason. In return, New York acquired a third- and fifth-round pick in the NHL Draft (which they used to select Bryce McConnell-Barker and Maxim Barbashev) as well as a third-round pick in 2023.
Even though Georgiev had some great moments with the Rangers, they made a smart decision in trading him now.
The Georgiev Trade Will Help the Rangers
The Rangers managed to acquire three draft picks in exchange for Georgiev even though he struggled last season. They are also saving money as the 26-year-old goaltender is set to become a restricted free agent and the organization needs to find a way to stay under the salary cap.
While Georgiev has shown flashes of his potential, including a 44-save shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes last season, he has played very inconsistently. He let in a lot of soft goals early in the season but played better late in the regular season. He stepped up when starting goalie Igor Shesterkin missed a few weeks with a lower-body injury but struggled to find a rhythm as a backup.
An alarming trend is that Georgiev’s save percentage (SV%) has gotten worse in each of his five seasons in the NHL. His save percentage dropped from .918 during the 2017-18 season to .914 in 2018-19, to .910 in 2019-20, to .905 in 2020-21, and all the way down to .898 last season.
Georgiev showed signs of frustration in New York and he could benefit from getting consistent playing time. He now has a great opportunity to become the starter for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The trade could prove to be a win for both the Avalanche and the Rangers as the Blueshirts had just four picks in the 2022 NHL Draft before the Georgiev trade. The trade gives the young goaltender a fresh start and now New York can look to add a goaltender who is more comfortable serving as a backup.
Options to Replace Georgiev
The Rangers could look to add a veteran backup goalie in a trade or during free agency, but they also have a few options from within the organization.
Keith Kinkaid spent the majority of the last two seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) though he also appeared in 10 games with the Rangers. He has played nine seasons in the NHL and has a 69-58-21 record with a .905 SV% and 2.92 goals-against average (GAA).
While with the Wolf Pack, Kinkaid split playing time with 25-year-old Adam Huska, who finished last season with a 10-13-5 record, a .902 SV%, and a 2.80 GAA. His numbers don’t jump off of the page, but Kinkaid also had a .904 SV% in 37 AHL games last season, as their statistics reflect Hartford’s defensive struggles.
Both Kinkaid and Huska are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason but one or both of them could be back with the Rangers next season.
New York also has a talented goalie prospect in Dylan Garand who played for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL) last season. He had a 34-9-1 record, a .925 SV%, and a 2.16 GAA. The 20-year-old has already signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers and while he’s a long shot to be their backup goalie this season, he has the potential to help the team at some point.
For the Rangers Moving Forward
Fortunately, the Rangers have an incredible starting goalie in Shesterkin but he has already had a few significant injuries during his career, which makes it very important for them to find a good backup. They may look to add another goalie this offseason but they also have a few options from within the organization.
New York drafted two prospects with the picks they acquired from Colorado in the 2022 NHL Draft and now they have an additional third-round pick in 2023. This was the right time to move Georgiev, and one of these prospects could end up developing into an important player for the Rangers.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, rooting for the Rangers, Yankees, Giants, and Knicks. When my dream of playing shortstop for the Yankees fell short, I started writing about sports instead. I’m a proud graduate of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.