Igor Shesterkin off IR, Patrik Nemeth in COVID protocol

The Rangers inched closer to welcoming back their star goaltender but have lost a defenseman to health and safety protocols.

The New York Rangers announced on Saturday that star goaltender Igor Shesterkin has been removed from injured reserve, sending Keith Kinkaid back to AHL Hartford. Additionally, defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed in COVID protocols.

Shesterkin has not played since leaving Dec. 3’s win over San Jose with a non-contact lower-body injury. His efforts spurred the Rangers’ hot start that currently has them amongst the Metropolitan Division’s elite. Shesterkin had begun traveling with the team on its recent road trip but now returns to the active roster with this move.

Despite missing the last eight games, Shesterkin (13-3-2, 2.05 GAA) continues to pace the NHL’s qualifying goaltenders in save percentage at .937. The Rangers (19-7-4) have performed respectably in his absence, having gone 4-3-1 with the services of Kinkaid, Alexandar Georgiev, and Adam Huska. Georgiev has taken over the primary duties, going 3-2-1 with a .935 save percentage in the seven games since Shesterkin’s injury.

Nemeth, in the midst of his first season with the Rangers after eight prior seasons with Dallas, Colorado, and Detroit, has been placed in COVID protocols, the team’s first entrant in the NHL’s recent uptick in cases amidst the Omicron variant. He has partaken in all 30 games this season, earning two assists on the third defensive pairing.

It should be noted that the Arizona Coyotes, the Rangers’ Wednesday opponent, placed three players on their own COVID list, including Jay Beagle, Lawson Crouse, and Alex Galchenyuk.

For the time being, the Rangers are currently scheduled to take on the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET, MSG). It will be their final game before five scheduled days off for the league’s annual Christmas break.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets call up two from practice squad in lead-up to Indy

New York Jets

The depleted New York Jets promoted two players from their practice squad prior to their Sunday showdown with the Colts.

Decimated by injuries, the New York Jets added two players from their practice squad as they prepare to battle the Indianapolis Colts on the road this Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS). Receiver Lawrence Cager and offensive lineman Jimmy Murray will each join the active roster, the team confirmed on Saturday night.

Cager, 23, earned positive reviews during his training camp stretch with the Jets over the summer. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia. Cager had transferred to the Bulldogs after three seasons with Miami. Overall, he earned 1,157 yards on 78 receptions, 14 good for touchdowns, in his time in Athens and Coral Gables. Injuries limited him to only one full season, his junior campaign of 2018 when he scored a career-best six scores.

The Jets (0-2) are very much depleted on the receiving front. Second-round rookie Denzel Mims is on injured reserve while veterans Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder have already been ruled out due to injuries. Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios are expected to be the top options for quarterback Sam Darnold at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Meanwhile, Murray joins the team’s active roster for the first time since joining up with the practice squad in November. He was waived at the end of the summer’s training camp activities but was signed back to the squad the next day. An alum of Holy Cross (where he earned second-team All-Patriot League nominations in 2016 and 2017), the 25-year-old blocker has partaken in two regular season NFL games, each with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018.

Murray’s name was called during the offensive lineman portion of last fall’s XFL Draft. He was chosen in the eighth round by the St. Louis BattleHawks but opted not to sign with the team and remained with the Jets’ practice squad.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags