Rangers backup is off to incredible start despite poor preseason performances

New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) makes a save on a shot by Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) (not shown) during the first period at Rogers Place
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the New York Rangers took home a massive 3-0 victory over Edmonton on the road. In what may seem to be a surprise for many fans, it was not the Blueshirts’ star goaltender Igor Shesterkin that earned the Rangers’ first shutout of the year. Instead, Jonathan Quick continued to excel in his second start as a Blueshirt to earn his 59th career shutout.

Quick had received much criticism heading into this season. He’s an aging goalie whose stats have regressed over the years, and his preseason performances did not foreshadow a solid start to the season. But with his first two starts under his belt, Quick has hastily proved his doubters wrong.

Quick’s preseason did not give the Rangers much to look forward to

Through all his appearances during the preseason, Quick did not play well in any of the exhibition games. He constantly allowed soft goals, and his goals against average soared through the roof.

The Rangers needed a backup goaltender to replace Jaroslav Halak, and Quick came as a cheap, easy option. At 37 years old, Quick was not expected to be a star. But what was seen during the preseason was abysmal, and many fans began to question the Rangers’ decision.

Despite all of this, Quick somehow managed to turn things around immediately and has looked like one of the best goalies so far this season.

Quick has put up elite stats in his first two starts as a Rangers

It’s unknown what changed, but Quick transformed from a preseason train wreck into a regular-season star. He’s only received two starts so far, but both have been elite performances. He has a goals-against average of 0.41 and a save percentage of .982%. Not to mention that he already has secured a shutout with last night’s dominant victory.

How the Rangers can utilize this new and improved Quick

Quick is playing exactly how the Rangers need him to this season. Too many times have the Blueshirts relied on Shesterkin so much that he becomes drained by the time the postseason begins. With a solid backup playing behind him, this problem could easily be eradicated.

The Rangers need to be comfortable starting Quick against any opponent. Letting Shesterkin rest and saving his energy deeper into the season will be key to the Rangers’ success, and Quick already seems like the goaltender to make that happen.