New York Rangers Keeping Shesterkin on Roster May Signal Georgiev Trade is Imminent

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

When the AHL announced that New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin was unavailable for it’s All-Star Game, it signaled to everyone that a trade involving Alexandar Georgiev might be near. The thought was that Shesterkin may be sent down for a game or two, thus allowing him to play in the AHL classic and therefore buying time for the Blueshirts to sort out their three goalie situation. Keeping Shesterkin indicates a trade will be coming sooner rather than later, something that may have an added sense of urgency after a disappointing loss Tuesday night to the New York Islanders.

Who Could the New York Rangers Trade Georgiev to?

The biggest trade partner seems to be the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, various reports seem to indicate that there is not a firm idea of who the Leafs would give up for Georgiev. Some reports have suggested that the Rangers would not give him up for a draft pick or prospect.

This led to speculation that the main target might be Kaspari Kapernan, who is a potential 20-goal-scorer with elite speed and penalty-killing abilities. However, many feel that this is too much to offer for the Rangers goaltender, who is very much needed but projected as a backup in Toronto. The most likely scenario is for Toronto to offer prospect Jeremy Bracco. The 22-year-old is currently playing in the AHL and has been reported as a player who has excellent vision and is an excellent passer. He is also a creative skater who uses his edgework to deceive defenders and create space to make plays.

A darkhorse for Georgiev’s services are the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they have struggled to find a reliable backup for Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning signed Curtis McElhinney as a free-agent, but he has played all that well. Tampa Bay also has tried a myriad of netminders at their AHL affiliate in Syracuse N.Y., but that has not turned out very well. At the halfway point, no goaltender in Syracuse has a save percentage above .900 or a goals-against average below 3.00. Georgiev would fit in nicely in Tampa Bay.

Another possibility could be the Colorado Avalanche, where the sighting of New York Ranger scouts has been a regular occurrence at Avs games. The thought was it was concerning a possible Chris Kreider trade, but the Avalanche could also use a solid backup in goal as they make a playoff run.

Are the New York Rangers Scouting the Colorado Avalanche with a Trade in Mind?

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Various media outlets in Colorado have reported an increased presence by New York Rangers scouts during recent Avalanche games. With just over 30 days left until the trade deadline, the Avs seem more and more like a trade partner if something can be worked out. The question will be what players will the Rangers trade and who or what will they get in return

Will the New York Rangers Trade Chris Kreider?

The speculation for a while has been the Chris Kreider is the most likely Ranger to be traded, most likely because he will be a free agent at the end of the season, and they may not want to pay what he is expected to ask for. Colorado has frequently been mentioned as a trade destination as they would covet his experience.

The Avs are one playoff-bound team that values Kreider, who could provide valuable scoring depth for a contending team on a second or third line. He also could feature on the power play, either as a primary shooter or as a big body in front of the net screening the goalie. He would also provide the Avs with a power forward skill set that makes him an ideal addition for the playoffs as that is when the game slows down and the overall physicality ramps up significantly. A role Kreider can fill nicely.

The Boston Bruins have also been interested, and Kreider, a Massachusetts native, would fit in nicely for the Bruins who are currently in first place in the Atlantic Division and have a legitimate shot at winning it all this year. Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh have also shown interest, but for now, the Rangers scouting department seems focused on Colorado.

Could the Avs be interested in a New York Ranger Goalie?

One of the darkhorse possibilities for trades could be for a goaltender. The Avalanche needs an experienced backup, and Henrik Lundqvist would fit the bill. However, Lundqvist has a no-movement clause, but after being on the bench for the last bunch of games while Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev have manned the net. It may come to a point where Lundqvist sees the writing on the wall and recognizes that the Avalanche are one of the teams that give him a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The next 30 or more days will be quite interesting for the Blueshirts as they make a playoff push and possibly become active on the trade market.

Should the New York Rangers Keep Georgiev and Trade Shesterkin?

New York Rangers, Alexandar Georgiev

The New York Rangers are now in an interesting situation. After their 3-2 victory over the Islanders on Thursday, the trade value for Alexandar Georgiev just went up. The young goaltender made 38 saves and Chris Kreider pounded in a rebound with 24 seconds left to lift the Blueshirts to the dramatic win over their arch-rival. Rumors continue to swirl about trades for Georgiev, including a pre-game report from Toronto stating the Maple Leafs are very interested. But the new question coming off Georgiev’s performance is why trade him?

Why Georgiev should stay with the New York Rangers

The rationale for this is somewhat simplistic. Georgiev already has a track record in the NHL. Igor Shesterkin may very well be a better NHL goalie, but he has only two NHL games under his belt.

Georgiev’s stats so far have been very good, especially against the rival Islanders. In five career starts against the Isles over the past two seasons, Georgiev is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage, having stopped 128 of 134 shots. You have to love a guy who can put up great numbers against one of your biggest rivals. Against the Metropolitan division, Georgiev has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.01 GAA and a .945 save percentage prior to last night’s game. In the three seasons with the Rangers, he has a 2.99 GAA and a .914 save percentage. While all of these stats make his trade value high, it is also a reason to consider hanging on to the 23 three-year-old who will not hurt you against future cap numbers.

What does the trade market look like for Georgiev?

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs are among teams that interested in Georgiev. His report did mention a specific player, his sources have told him that the Rangers are asking for an NHL ready forward in return. Dreger also tweeted out after the Rangers beat the Isles, that as the Blueshirts keep winning and making a playoff push, they may keep key players instead of trading them. The good news is that the Rangers are in a really good position to be well compensated for any of the goaltenders they may end up trading.

New York Rangers’ Three Goalie Rotation Still Working in Thumping of Isles, But For How Long?

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

One of the thoughts, when the New York Rangers decided to start Alexandar Georgiev on Monday night, was that it was an audition for other teams who might be interested in trading for the young Russian netminder. If that was the case, he passed his screen test with flying colors as Artemi Panarin tallied five points as the Rangers throttled their rivals from Long Island 6-2. In addition to Panarin’s excellent work, Jesper Fast had a goal and two assists while Adam Fox added a goal and an assist.

The New York Rangers Can Make the Three Goalie Carousel Work for a While

The notion of the Georgiev audition comes after some media reports indicated that the Rangers are willing to “listen” to offers for the young netminder. Reports have suggested that the asking price is high, and nothing that happened in Monday night’s game will change that. If anything, the price just went up. However, the Rangers may want to re-think this situation and keep three goalies for a while.

There are a couple of different scenarios that could allow them to hang on to all three to see if the situation can work itself out naturally. One of the takeaways from Monday night’s game is that Georgiev can still be useful after not seeing the ice in a while. Georgiev did not play the last three games as Igor Shesterkin, and Henrik Lundqvist got the start in those matches.

However, the veteran Lundqvist is the player who has been used to regular work, and he is the one that truly needs it. So, in that case, the Rangers could approach him and let him know that if he wants to stay in New York, and hamper the progress of young talented goalies, and cause a significant hit on their cap, then he will have to play the “difficult” games.

That would mean like last Saturday in St. Louis, he will have to face top teams on the road, thus proving he deserves time in the net while allowing the youngsters to ease into their roles. For example, Lundqvist could get the start on Thursday night against the Isles, using his experience to deal with the hostile Long Island environment.

You could then follow that by giving Shesterkin the home start on Sunday against Columbus and then have Georgiev face the Islanders at home two days later. This will take them up to the All-Star break, giving the Blueshirts 10 days before their next tilt to figure things out. It could also allow them to send Shesterkin down to Hartford, under the guise of letting him have the honor of playing in the AHL All-Star Game, which is held the same weekend as the NHL affair.

This will give you at least until the end of the month to consider options, and have a plan in case an injury should occur. A workable situation in making sure your two young prized goaltenders’ values are optimized.

New York Rangers Win Over New Jersey Does Not Solve Three Goalie Dilemma

New York Rangers

New York Ranger fans should heed the advice of a famous quote/song that says “Love is Blind” especially when it deals with the recently promoted goalie Igor Shesterkin. The initial reaction to immediately crown the young Russian as the next great NHL goaltender might be a tad bit premature.

Shesterkin was Solid but not Outstanding for the New York Rangers

Someone will take a look at the stat sheet and say “Hey, he stopped 46 of 49 shots, how is that not outstanding?” Part of the answer has to do with the quality of shots, but the other part is that the Rangers as a team allowed the bottom-feeding New Jersey Devils to get off those 49 shots. If they allow the St. Louis Blues to get off 49 shots on Saturday night, it will not matter who you have in goal. Let’s take a look at the three goals allowed by Shesterkin. The first goal allowed was scored by Kenny Rooney shorthanded. The Rangers are supposed to be scoring shorthanded goals, not their opponents. The second tally was scored when a Devil player got away with a crosscheck on a Rangers defenseman and opened up the area in front of the net for the goal.  The third goal was scored when a big scrum happened in front of the net. He even received praise from Devil’s opponent Blake Coleman who said that Shesterkin was solid but also mentioned that three goals should win NHL games on most nights. So the point really is, so Shesterkin fans don’t start losing their mind, is that you cannot expect your goaltenders to be their best if your defense does not play it’s best.

Who is the Odd Man Out for the New York Rangers

As the young phenom, let’s assume that Shesterkin will definitely stay. Unless the Rangers get blown away with a huge deal, he will stay in New York for the long term. So that leaves Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev.  You would not move Lundqvist, would you? After all, Henrik has stated that he wants to finish his career as a Ranger and because of that, he has a no-move clause in his contract. So unless he waives that, the Rangers cannot move him and free up his 8.5 million dollar cap hit. The big twist in this is that Georgiev is out of options, and cannot be sent down to the AHL. So in all likelihood, Georgiev is going to be the odd man out, and will likely get traded. It would be nice to at least get some defensive help out of this because you cannot rely on Tony DeAngelo having hat-tricks with five points every game.

New York Rangers Overcome Slow Start, Bury Avalanche

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are getting into a bad habit of having slow starts to games. However, they overcame their most recent slow start and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. In doing so, recently promoted goalie Igor Shesterkin picked up his first NHL victory.

Shesterkin Shines in Debut

Despite going down 2-0, Shesterkin showed resolve in only allowing one more goal after this. For the game, he stopped 29 of the 32 Colorado shots attempted. in earning the win, Shesterkin is one of only two Rangers goaltenders since 1979-80 who have earned a win in their regular-season NHL debut while playing at MSG. A solid debut for a young man who was quoted after the game as saying: “On the way to the arena my hands were shaking, I couldn’t even drink water. But as I stepped onto the ice, I felt everyone’s support and energy and it really helped me”  Head Coach David Quinn was quick to praise his goalie in post-game comments by saying he was impressed that he could  “To be mentally tough enough to pull himself together”.  Of course, this was due to the fact that J.T. Compher scored at 4:44 of the first period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, and Nathan MacKinnon scored his 26th goal on a breakaway to make it 2-0 at 6:34. But to his credit, Shesterkin did not melt. he settled down after that, giving up just one goal on the next 29 shots. Igor Shesterkin became the fifth Rangers goalie in 40 years to win in his NHL debut. The others: Mackenzie Skapski (Feb. 20, 2015), Dan Cloutier (Jan. 3, 1998), Mike Richter (Oct. 19, 1989)  and John Vanbiesbrouck (Dec. 5, 1981).

Strong Offense Picks Up Soft Defense

The defense did not do a lot early to help their young goaltender.  The first goal was scored on a deflection and the second goal was scored on a breakaway. Not a great start to help out a young goaltender. But to their credit, the  Rangers bounced back.  Chris Kreider redirected a Ryan Strome‘pass through the five-hole on the power play to make it 2-1. Mika Zibanejad chipped in a loose puck from the slot under the arm of the Colorado Goalie to tie it 2-2.  Brady Skjei‘s huge slapshot from the blueline at 8:05 of the second period gave New York a 3-2 lead.  Colorado rebounded to tie the game but Strome’s fifth goal in the past six games gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Artemi Panarin added an empty-net goal to make the final score 5-3. So after some slow stretches, the Rangers’ studs are stepping up. Panarin has 10 assists and 12 points in the last six games. Strome has five goals and four assists in his last six games. Mika Zibanejad has 10 goals and 16 points in his last 12 games

New York Rangers Decide to Take a Look at Goalie Igor Shesterkin

New York Rangers, Igor Shesterkin

The New York Rangers and their fans may not have to wait long to see their young phenom goalie Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers recalled the goalie from their AHL affiliate in Hartford, and speculation will be that he will start in goal against Colorado on Tuesday night. The Rangers are deciding to carry three goalies, and it may be that the reported illness that plagued Henrik Lundqvist over the weekend may have more long term effects, or did they decide it was time to take a look at the talented young Russian?

Shesterkin was Shining in Hartford

In 23 games for the Wolf Pack, Shesterkin has a 15-4-3 record with a league-best 1.93 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage along with three shutouts. Shesterkin was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft who played several years in the KHL before coming to the US this year. He was recently selected to play in the AHL All-Star game. It is expected that he will get a look sooner rather than later as Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev, who have been splitting the goaltending duties for the Rangers, who are allowing the fifth-most goals in the NHL on a per-game average. Many had speculated that when he was drafted that he would be Henrik Lundqvist’s heir apparent.

KHL and Career in Russia

Shesterkin played as a youth with Krylya Sovetov Moscow before he was selected by Spartak Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, 43rd overall in the 2012 KHL Draft.  In 117 KHL games over six seasons, Shesterkin had an 88-16-7 record, a 1.68 GAA and .935 save percentages. Among goaltenders with at least 100 KHL appearances, his GAA and save percentage are both records.

Also, Shesterkin represented Russia and was one of the top goaltenders at the 2018 World Championships in Denmark. He finished with two shutout victories and a 1.46 goals-against average with a .942 save percentage, both of which were the third-best at the event. He also played for Russia but did not see any action in the 2018 Winter Olympics in which the Russians won the Gold medal.

The New York Rangers Have a Quandary in Net, One Aging Star and One Red Hot Backup

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

Many in the sports world feel competition among players for a position is a good thing. This may or may not hold true for the New York Rangers and their goaltender situation this season.

For years the Rangers have relied on Henrik Lundqvist to man the nets for the Blueshirts. However, this year, the 37-year-old has been struggling a bit as he deals with minor back issues and a backup goaltender who has been very good in relief.  Lundqvist has struggled of late and has not won a game since November 27.  He will not have the immediate opportunity to change that as Alexandar Georgiev is scheduled to get the start in the net Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The New York Rangers have a quandary in goal:

Red Hot Backup

Georgiev, who also has the distinction of being the first Bulgarian born player to suit up in the NHL, has gone 6-3-0 with a .925 save percentage and 2.61 GAA since the 10th of November. He has an excellent track record against Toronto, On February 10th of 2019, Georgiev made a career-high 55 saves in a 4–1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, becoming the goaltender with second-most saves in a game in Rangers’ history, while also setting a record for most saves in regulation. Proving that was not a one time fluke, Georgiev followed that up with a solid 44-save outing on March 23, which resulted in a 2-1 overtime victory.

Lundqvist Struggles

Since November 10, Lundqvist has gone 3-4-3 with a .903 save percentage and 3.19 GAA. He played well last Saturday in Anaheim, but a crucial mistake at the end of the game led to the tying goal, a game in which the Rangers eventually lost in a shootout. While the 37-year-old may need rest on occasion, he is not correctly used to a lot of time on the bench. Excluding the 2012-13 lockout and 2014-15 when he missed significant time with an injury, Lundqvist averaged 67.25 starts per season over a 10-year period, which equates to more than 80% of the Rangers’ games. He started 52 games last year and has been the starter for 18 of the 33 games so far this season. For someone who has thrived on a heavy workload, Lundqvist may have to get used to reduced time in the net.

Waiting in the Wings

At their AHL affiliate in New Hartford, Igor Shesterkin is playing like he is worthy of manning the nets in the NHL. So far this season, Shesterkind has posted a 2.14 GAA with a .926 Save Percentage. Concerns about the transition from Europe to NHL style play and rinks have been put to rest.

All in all, it is not exactly a bad situation to have. Together, Lundqvist and Georgiev rate as the fourth-best goalie tandem in the NHL. But it is always challenging to deal with an aging star who has been the face of the franchise for so many years. So far, Coach David Quinn has been handling it well, and Ranger fans can only hope that this continues for the foreseeable future.