Can the Rangers still rely on Shesterkin this season?

New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) warms up before the first period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have seen incredible displays of goaltending throughout their start to the 2023-24 season. With superstar Igor Shesterkin acting as the starter and newly signed Jonathan Quick serving as the backup, the Rangers have found themselves ranked first league-wide in goals against through 19 games played.

What’s interesting to note is that Shesterkin appears to be having a down year despite the overall success of the Rangers. His stats haven’t been bad by any means, but fans of the Blueshirts know exactly what Shesterkin brings to the table when playing at his best. And with Quick joining the team as an immediate star, it conjures the question of how much playing time each goalie should get moving forward.

Shesterkin is having a slight down year so far

In what is now his fifth season as a Ranger, Shesterkin’s stat lines aren’t up to par with what the Blueshirts have seen from him in the past. His goals-against average through 11 games played is at 2.45, compared to his career stat of 2.38. His current save percentage is at .916, with .923 being his overall across his five seasons.

Shesterkin’s numbers this season are elite. Keeping the GAA low and the SV% high is exactly what the Rangers need. But when looking at his past stats, especially from his Vein-winning season, it’s clear that this is a bit of a down year compared to what he’s done in previous seasons.

This is also only through 11 games played, and there is much more hockey left to be played. Shesterkin did suffer an injury earlier this year, so his recovery could be playing a factor right now too. Nobody wants to jump to conclusions about Shesterkin’s performance, but he needs to get back to his regular self soon.

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Quick has been the most surprising Rangers player this season

When the Rangers signed Jonathan Quick this past offseason, he was expected to be an average backup goaltender at the tail end of his career. His performances in preseason helped justify those expectations, but that is not the role he has played since the regular season began.

In eight games played, Quick has notched six wins- with his most recent coming against the league-leading Boston Bruins. He’s also recorded a stellar 1.99 GAA and a .930 SV%.

It seems that Rangers HC Peter Laviolette has become comfortable starting Quick against top teams in the league, which is something the Blueshirts have been missing for a while. He’s easily been the most surprising player for the Rangers so far, and fans have nothing bad to say about this twist.

How should the Rangers handle their goalie situation moving forward?

At this point, both Shesterkin and Quick should be receiving a similar number of starts for the Rangers. Shesterkin will clearly always be the starter, but the Rangers need to utilize the hot hand of Quick in order to balance their goaltenders.

Yes, Shesterkin’s stats are lower than usual. But it’s only been 19 total games into the year, with an injury to their star as well. He’ll undoubtedly turn things around and return to his usual self, but it’s good to see the Rangers having a reliable backup to help Shesterkin in this process.

If the Rangers make the playoffs, it’s safe to say that Shesterkin will still be the man in between the pipes as the Blueshirts look to hoist the Stanley Cup on the 30th anniversary of their last championship win.