Despite the New York Rangers‘ tough loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, they can take solace in the fact that their young goaltender Igor Shesterkin played quite well. The significance in this is that Shesterkin is one of three goaltenders that the Rangers are keeping on their active roster, which is not an ideal situation for NHL teams. The fact that it is working as well as it has been due to the influence and coaching of Benoit Allaire.
What Allaire brings to the New York Rangers
Allaire will need to use his vast skill and expertise to help his young goaltenders, starting with Shesterkin, who was not too happy with himself after giving up a late tiebreaking goal to Columbus. Allaire will point out that Shesterkin played well, and the leading cause of that last goal was an unfortunate shift change that allowed the Blue Jackets to skate in with a three on two advantage.
This is the same kind of message that Allaire would also give to a young Henrik Lundqvist when he became the goalie coach in 2004. Under Allaire, Lundqvist has had a stellar career, including being one of three goaltenders in NHL history who have earned 30 or more wins in at least 11 different seasons, along with Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.
Allaire is also no stranger to the three goalie situation, having dealt with this issue while being the goaltender coach for the Phoenix Coyotes before coming to New York. Situations like this did not seem to affect Sean Burke, who made significant progress under Allaire.
Burke appeared in 536 NHL games and posted a 3.21 goals-against average, with a .895 save percentage before teaming up with Allaire. Under his teaching, Burke showed noticeable improvement, appearing in 211 games with the Coyotes and recording a 2.39 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Throughout his coaching career with the Rangers, almost all of the goalies that have donned the blue jersey have seen improvement or have had issues corrected that allowed them the play at their optimal level.
Allaire has also benefited from the knowledge of his older brother Francois, who became the first goaltending coach for the Montreal Canadiens and is given credit for the development of legendary goaltender Patrick Roy. Benoit Allaire will be relied on to develop the two young goaltenders that Rangers have, as well as keeping the veteran Lundqvist happy and engaged in whatever role he ends up playing for as long as this system is in place.