Oct
22

Rangers goaltending shining once again

October 22, 2015, by
henrik lundqvist

Hank: leading the Rangers impressive stable of goalies

Wherever you look, whatever league; this season Rangers’ goaltenders are putting up strong numbers. Led by Henrik Lundqvist’s strong start, the Rangers group of netminders are showing that, at the very least, the Rangers are among the best organisations in the entire NHL for goaltending depth. Let’s take a quick look at how Rangers goaltenders are getting on to begin the season;

NHL

Obviously, any conversation about goaltending begins and ends with Lundqvist. As he goes, so do the Rangers. Lundqvist is neck and neck with Carey Price for the best goaltender in the world tag and if the Rangers actually manage to play some consistent defense in front of their franchise goalie then this season could feature a second Vezina trophy for Lundqvist. Lundqvist may ‘only’ have a 3-2-1 record but his 2.16 GAA would be the third best mark of his career and his .931S% would represent a career high if he can maintain such a lofty figure all season.

Replacing Cam Talbot was never going to be easy for Antti Raanta but a shutout victory in your Rangers debut is one way of endearing yourself to the Rangers fanbase. His 19 game stretch (16-0-3) without losing a home game in regulation is borderline ridiculous. The Rangers managed to develop one backup (Talbot) into an NHL quality starter and there’s a legitimate chance they could do the same with Raanta. Success in the modern NHL often requires effective asset management and Raanta (26) could be the next example of the Rangers developing a young, cheap acquisition into something more significant.

AHL

With young prospect McKenzie Skapski on the shelf to begin the regular season the Rangers’ hopes in net at the AHL level lay with new acquisition Magnus Hellberg. Hellberg is another goalie with significant upside and he flashed his talent in the Nashville system before coming to New York (for a 6th round draft pick) this season. At 6’5 Hellberg is a big goalie and is off to a strong start for Hartford. With a 3-1 record, a .947 S%, a shutout and a 1.75GAA Hellberg couldn’t do much more for the ‘Pack. It’s a sensational start with a new team. At 24, Hellberg like Raanta (and Skapski at 21) also has time on his side to develop into an NHL quality goalie.

Thanks to Hellberg, the Rangers and Wolf Pack don’t need to rush Skapski back from his injury but when Skapski does return the Rangers organisation will boast a young tandem at the AHL level who both boast legitimate NHL potential. The young duo should be one of the strongest pairings in the AHL. Not too shabby.

Juniors and European prospects

Outside of the pro ranks the Rangers continue to have what appears to be an embarrassment of riches in goaltending potential. While it’s far too early to draw any conclusions on 2015 draft pick Adam Huska, he’s still made a solid start in the USHL with Green Bay but it’s Brandon Halverson and Igor Shesterkin that excite most.

Halverson is coming off a 40 win season a year ago but he’s struggled to start the new season with a .889 S% and a hugely bloated 4.19 GAA in five appearances. Halverson is likely to be the US WJC starting goaltender this year however so will get plenty of quality competition as he continues to develop for the Rangers.

Shesterkin may not be playing in the KHL just yet but he’s had a strong start this season. Sporting an 8-2 record, a miniscule 1.28GAA and a .952 S% (not to mention 3 shutouts) Shesterkin is dominating in the Russian VHL for SKA’s minor league affiliate. With no outright ‘number one’ goalie on SKA’s this season Shesterkin could force his way into some KHL game time in short order.

Lundqvist, Raanta, Hellberg, Shesterkin. Collectively the Rangers goaltenders are off to very strong starts this season. With Brandon Halverson likely to find his groove sooner rather than later and McKenzie Skapski due to return in the next few weeks, the Rangers boast depth that’s almost unparalleled. Could the Rangers have six NHL quality netminders on their hands? Not a crazy thought.

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Walt says:

    I know nothing about the position, nor do I care to learn at my age, but according to my eye test we have some damn good tenders on the ice for us every night!!!!!!!!

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      You don’t give yourself enough credit….. you’ve read through enough of Justin’s posts to get a pretty good understanding of the intricacies of the tender : )

  2. BOBBY B says:

    Chris, excellent article, we are fortunate to have The King and a capable back-up in Raanta. Any word on how Cam Talbot is doing in Edmonton?? , did he win the starting job??

    • sherrane says:

      He’s the starter and won 3-1 last night against Detroit making him 2-3 with a 2.23 GAA so far this season. His GAA and Save % is similar to the numbers he posted with the Rangers last season.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Barring an unforeseen turn of events he’ll likely get the majority of starts, probably 50/30 over Anders Nilsson. Here’s an ESPN fantasy update (10/18) on the situation, which is underplaying Cam a little bit, in my opinion:

      “Nilsson has been fantastic in two appearances this season, stopping 81 of 85 shots — good for a .953 save percentage. While Cam Talbot has also looked thus far, the former Ranger has never played more than 36 games in a season, so expect Nilsson to see a healthy amount of action this year. The 25-year-old Swedish netminder is off to an excellent start behind a team with a potent offensive attack.”

      In the end, Cam will see plenty of action if his play warrants it.

  3. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Unrelated….but has anyone seen tonight’s projected line up:

    Rick Nash-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
    Chris Kreider-Derick Brassard-Jesper Fast
    J.T. Miller-Kevin Hayes-Oscar Lindberg
    Viktor Stalberg-Dominic Moore-Jarret Stoll

    Oh me oh my this is exciting. Being able to slot Fast in the top 6 (where he excelled in the playoffs last year as a rookie) allows us to put a HELL of a 3rd line out there. If they get any kind of staying power, the Miller – Hayes – Lindberg line could have a year like Pouliot – Brass – Zuc a la 2013/14.

    That’s where I’ve really been looking for Etem to slot in, but at this point, who do you take out? No one today…. maybe down the road, bump up Miller, drop Fast to 4 and put Stoll as our 13F. But I certainly ain’t rushing it

    Our balance and depth is really something this yr.

  4. doug peters says:

    Halverson’s stats are indicative of team in front of him this year. An older Greyhound team may a run deep in OHL playoffs last year. Not sure they have re-tooled as well this year.

  5. wwpd says:

    this is a nitpick because Hank has played well but there are several other guys who have been performing at his level in the early going this year. meanwhile, Carey Price is a lock for the October Vezina. he is the best player on the ice for either team every night.

    • "The Original Rob" says:

      I’m sorry but as good as Price is, I’d take Hank over Price anyday out of the week!

      Whenever I watch a Hab game, it ALWAYS seems like there’s a herd of his teamates in front of him.

      Not trying to hate on the guy because he truly is a talent, but when Joe “Master of Stating the Obvious” Micheletti was calling him “the best goalie in the world” on National television, it made me want to throw something at my T.V..

      HANKY ALL THE WAY!!!

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Price is the best goalie on the planet right now (T – 365 days). Hank has been doing it for longer and career wise is the man, but right now Price pushed his ceiling a bit higher than Hanky. We’ll see if the same is true over the course of this yr.

        But if we are talking on picking an all world team right now, one person per position, Price gets the nod in the crease. As much as it pains me to say it.

        • wwpd says:

          exactly

        • "The Original Rob" says:

          NO WAY!

          Hattrick, I agree with %99.999999999 of what you normally post on here, but on this, I gotta respectfully disagree with you buddy.

          Now, if you mean, your statement is what the general consensus feels, then I absolutely agree with you, as most of these so called experts feel that way about Price (right now.)

          However, in my opinion, not only is Henrik better, but he’s much better then Price!

  6. Ray says:

    He’s certainly not a prospect, but a healthy Desjardins might also be good enough to be a backup tender for some NHL team. With not enough room for Hellberg, Skapski, and Desjardins in Hartford, either one of them is absurdly sent to Greenville or the Rangers make a trade. Desjardins might actually get a low draft pick in return.