The New York Rangers are currently 1-1 two games into the 2023-24 preseason. A disappointing 3–0 shutout against Boston and a dominating 4–2 win over the Islanders has set the tone for the Rangers’ upcoming campaign.
The initial loss was an all-around poor performance from the Blueshirts with no single player to blame. But after both games thus far, one thing is clear. Although there is work that needs to be done, the Rangers do possess some of the best goaltending in the NHL.
Shesterkin and Garand shined bright for the Rangers
In the Rangers’ 4-2 victory against the Islanders, one of the key factors to the Blueshirts’ success came from elite goaltending. Superstar Igor Shesterkin and prospect Dylan Garand shared the playing time, swapping about halfway through the game. Both goalies played very well, only allowing one goal each.
Shesterkin appeared to be at the top of his game, making 10 of 11 potential saves. This gave him a .909 save percentage, a performance that Blueshirts fans are used to. Shetserkin’s only goal against came on an Islanders power play, meaning he played perfectly at even strength.
Garand also played extremely well, stopping 11 of 12 shots against him, giving him a save percentage of .917. In a game where both goalies only allowed one goal a piece where neither was the fault of the goaltender, it’s safe to say the Rangers had two brick walls in the net.
- Rangers: Adam Fox almost nearing return from LTIR
- New York Rangers vs Buffalo Sabres Preview 11/27/23
- Can the Rangers still rely on Shesterkin this season?
Quick will need time to settle in with the Rangers
In the first preseason game against Boston, newly signed Jonathan Quick hit the ice for the first time in a Rangers jersey. All three opposing goals were scored against Quick, setting a rocky start for the veteran goalie’s tenure with the Blueshirts.
Two of Boston’s goals were certainly not Quick’s fault, but one of them was a bit soft. One game should not fully determine a player’s potential but it is clear that Quick will need a bit of time to situate himself with the Rangers.
At 37 years old, Quick’s career will be coming to an end within the foreseeable future. His stats have been on a steep decline over the last half-decade, and he’s looking for a bounce-back season on his one-year contract with the Rangers. As a backup behind Shesterkin there won’t be too much pressure on Quick’s shoulders, hopefully giving him the time and space to find his game early on in the season.
Allaire has bred star goalies for the Rangers for years
The Blueshirts are known for having trouble developing prospects, but the one area where they succeed without fail is creating elite goalies left and right.
Benoit Allaire, the Rangers goaltending coach, has been the backbone of this development for years. He helped Henrik Lundqvist become a 2023 Hall of Fame inductee and has once again turned Shesterkin into a world-class goaltender.
If there’s anyone who can help Quick bounce back or Garand become an elite goalie down the line, it’s Allaire. He won’t have as much time with Quick as he will with Garand, but his coaching abilities will surely be noticed very quickly.
Even if there will be rough games now and again, it’s clear that the existing talent on the Rangers combined with their elite coaching staff has bred one of the best goalie systems in the NHL.