The Goaltending Situation at the Garden


There are three goaltenders on the Rangers roster, and sometimes three is truley a crowd. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The Rangers have one of the more interesting goaltending situations in the league, with three goaltenders on the National Hockey League (NHL) payroll in the thick of a playoff race. Alexander Gerogiev is an established youngster who has proven his worth over the last few seasons; Henrik Lundqvist is the face of the franchise, one of the highest paid players on the team and one of the best goalies of the last decade; the third is the rookie sensation Igor Shesterkin.

Coming into the season, Georgiev and Lundqvist looked to split the load again, just like they did last year. Georgiev certainly looked (and still looks) like a viable heir to the King’s throne, but a young Russian in the American Hockey League made waves and caused a welcomed disruption in those plans. Igor Shesterkin was called up in early January, just weeks after his 24th birthday, and put the league on notice immediately.

In his first ten games, Shesterkin is 9-1-0 with a 2.23 goals against average (GAA) and a .940 save percentage (SV%). He has sparked the Ranger resurgence over the past two months, easily won the fans over and provided a great look at the future in the Ranger net.

All of this is great for everyone besides general manager Jeff Gorton and president John Davidson, who now have to decide which one of the three goalies will not be on the roster next season. The trade deadline has come and gone, so a trade of either Gerogiev or Lundqvist will have to wait until the draft in June at the earliest. Lundqvist has a no-trade clause and one year left on his $8.5 million per year deal. He could have been traded at the deadline to a team looking for a goalie, but nothing was done, and he remains a Ranger for now. It certainly seems like he will be in New York until the end of his deal next season. Georgiev, on the other hand, makes this situation a lot more interesting. He will become an RFA at the end of this season, meaning if he ends up on another team next season, the Rangers will get assets in return no matter what.

The obvious solution is to attempt and trade Georgiev at the draft and get some picks and prospects for a solid young goaltender. However, the two-goalie system is thriving in today’s NHL, and the Rangers were using it to perfection with Georgiev and Shesterkin before Shesterkin’s upper body injury. Lundqvist will simply not be able to carry that load into the future. Getting rid of Lundqvist makes the Rangers a better hockey team, but it certainly looks like Alexander Georgiev will join the ranks of Antti Raanta and Cam Talbot as Lundqvist backups who the Rangers move on from.

Igor Shesterkin is the goaltender of the future for the Rangers, but this offseason provides an interesting situation for the franchise and one of their greatest players.