The goalie dilemma we didn’t expect to have

alex georgiev

No, this isn’t a post about Henrik Lundqvist. So Hank haters need not apply. When the season started, though, the Rangers were set with Hank in net as the starter and Ondrej Pavelec as the backup. It was a risk, but it paid off as Pavelec –after a rough start– started to show that he was a fairly capable backup. If not for some odd obsession with starting Hank every effing game, Pavelec would have seen more action.

Then the knee injury happened, basically shutting him down for the season. Up came Alex Georgiev on February 9, who basically sat on the bench for a while before getting his first start on February 22. He got back-to-back starts, stopping 90 of 97 shots. It was an impressive debut on a team that bleeds gives out more shots than LMFAO.

It didn’t stop there for the 22 year old netminder. He’s started four games since that back-to-back debut, stopping 35 of 37 (W @ EDM), 41 of 44 (W vs CAR), 37 of 40 (W vs PIT), and 29 of 33 (OTL @ STL). All told, he has a .922 SV% on a team that, as you can see, hasn’t exactly given him much defensive support.

Georgiev’s success gives the Rangers an interesting conundrum for next season. Before his injury, all signs pointed to Pavelec getting re-signed and serving as the backup. Let’s assume that would cost the Rangers his current $1.3 million salary. Not exactly expensive, and for a team with cap space, a luxury they can afford.

The other option is have Georgiev back up Hank on his current ELC at just over half that price. The price doesn’t necessarily matter here, it’s all about performance. Georgiev is younger and has played better, at least in the short term.

The most realistic option is for Pavelec to serve as the backup for one more year, and have Georgeiv get the starting role in Hartford. It ensures the Rangers don’t rush the kid, and that he gets more playing time to hone his craft. Of course, in the NHL he’d have Benoit Allaire, so there’s some give and take here.

There is one option that will be popular but will leave people disappointed, and that is signing Pavelec with the sole purpose of flipping him at the deadline. I’m all for that option, as long as we are all on the same page that he, at best, fetches a mid-late round pick. For starters he doesn’t have a good track record, which impacts his trade value. Most importantly, though, is that the goalie trade market stinks.

It’s kind of funny, actually. No one expected the Rangers to have a goalie dilemma at the start of the season. Nor was it expected when the trade deadline was looming. But here we are, with a goalie dilemma. I, for one, am enjoying it. Competition breeds improvement.

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  • Not sure the line about bleeding shots….but …the Rangers with AV’s scheme do give up more shots than a CVS Flu Shot clinic.

    • Completely agree. There is no reason to re-sign Pavelec. Doing so would require the Rangers to send Georgiev to Hartford since Pavelec would need to clear waivers. If this is a retool / rebuild / re-whatever, the organization should be comfortable with the kid backing up Hank. How much value would a 31-year old who was taken off the scrap heap with a below .500 career record command? The Rangers front office should get arrested for fraud if they get more than a 4th rounder for him. The only reason to re-sign Pavelec would be if you’ve seen evidence that Georgiev isn’t ready.

        • Juuse Saros is 22 and is in his second season as a backup in Nashville.

          Joonas Korpisalo is the 23 year old backup goalie in his 3rd season for Columbus.

          John Gibson was the backup in Anaheim when he was 21 and became the starter two seasons later.

          Petr Mrazek was the backup for Detroit starting when he was 22.

          Jonathan Bernier was the backup goalie in Los Angeles when he was 22.

          Darcy Kuemper was the backup in Minnesota when he was 23.

          Philipp Grubauer has been a backup in Washington since the age of 23.

          • Ouch, that’s some excellent and thorough myth-dispelling on your part here. Was gonna bring up some of these names that you mentioned too. A fellow named Lundqvist was also supposed to be a Ranger backup to Kevin Weekes at age 23, but injury and fate intervened.

          • Hoo ray! you found a few….2 of them play behind Rinne and Bob…Gibson is nothing special…Mrazek is nothing special….Bernier is a scrub…Grubauer plays behind holtby….I hope we want more for Georgie than that

          • The six young goalies mentioned by Sherrane above all have career paths that refute your clichéd belief. Take your “theory” about young goalies out to the trash, there are many others in Ranger history alone (Mike Richter, Dan Cloutier, and John Vanbiesbrouck just off the top of my head) who came into the NHL as young backups and had careers as starters when they were older. There are countless NHL netminders who have had similar career tracks.

            Don’t get mad that you’ve just gotten schooled. Try learning from it instead.

  • Not for nothing but all goalies played well this season. Including Hank of course. We didn’t fall apart this season because of goaltending or lack thereof.

  • Make Georgiev the starter, and sign Pavelec as his backup. Trade Lundqvist to a contender. If we’re going to do this reboot, let’s go all in and move on from the coddled prima donna.

    • Hank will never agree to that, he won’t approve a trade. There my friend is the reason we should never sign anyone to a complete NMC. This is also part of the reason Cindy was traded, his NMC clause was about to kick in, and then we’d have 3 players signed that way, Hank, Cindy, and Staal!!!!!!

    • There are some issues with this strategy as follow, completely aside from any opinions about Hank’s performance:

      1. No Movement Clause
      2. No Movement Clause
      2a. NMC
      3. No Movement Clause
      4. No Movement Clause
      5. NMC

      Good. Lord. People. Enough with this. Just stoppit!

      • Gretzky got traded then so can Lundqvist….if he wants to win a Cup then he will change his tune

      • I feel you, Egelstein. This discussion redefines nonstarter. Hell, Ron Duguay’s new haircut deserves more analysis.

        Leastwise, we should be observing a virtual Moment of Silence for the “China Clipper”: Larry Kwong, 94.

        The Asian Willie O’Ree, Kwong skated one shift of one game–in 1948–for the Blueshirts.

        • Also, a moment of silence for Greg Polis who also passed. Played with us from the ’74-75 season until ’78-’79

          • Stick tap, Steven.

            (For every 20 packs of 1970s hockey cards, I remember it was Polis’s that seemed to show more than anyone else’s.)

    • I really hope that was a joke otherwise it is just ridiculous #1 we would be giving away one of if not the best player we have we have seen lots of goalies play a lot longer and play well and he is the perfect bridge to Igor who will be here in another 1-2 years I don’t understand some of the things I read sometimes on these sites

  • This may be coming out of right field, but just think this thru. We sign both Alex Georgiev, Ondrej Pavelec for next season. Let them battle it out, and let the best man win.

    Here is where it gets tricky, what if Igor decides not to come here? Let’s be honest about it, without getting too political, but Putin doesn’t make the US sound great, and the kid could be swayed to stay back home. I hope that never happens, but it could, then what? By signing both, to two way contracts, even at the same rate, NHL or AHL, not to discourage them from resigning, what’s wrong with that?

    If all things were the same I’d lean in the direction of the kid as the back up for Hank. By the same token, Ondrej would be a nice addition for Chytil, someone who speaks his language, like the issue we had with Buch, and guide the kid along. Just my thoughts!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt, chill …. Igor will come. Any young hockey player worth a damn in Russia will come if called.

    • For what it is worth, Shestyorkin’s mother recently said in an interview that Lundqvist was his favorite player growing up and the Rangers were his favorite team. That obviously does not mean 100% for sure that he is looking forward to making the jump after his SKA contract and/or if there was any type of buyout this summer, but it’s about as close as we as fans will get to that assurance.

    • we have enough russian kids on the team that can talk to him and he plays with Kovalchuk Ilya who knows the Rangers and can tell him about the NHL and what its like here it should make both kids feel good about coming here

      • True that.

        Moreover, My Man/former cellie Swarty operates a Russian–or Bulgarian/Moldavian?–escort service.

        All class. Offices in Tirana, Albania and Boca Raton.

        Swarty’ll hook the kid up. Mentor? Sorted. Language? Dah.


        • Remember what we used to say back in Witness Protection Fotiu – You can never have too many Russians…and I don’t mean the white kind from the Hotel bar.

          I say bring them on – Kovi, Nichushkin, Andrei Svechnikov, Grigori Denisenko, Boris Badenov, Gorbachev, Putin

          Like they say in DC these days – the more the merrier….

  • It looks like Benoit is getting what he needs in terms of seeing what he has in Alex “The G” (who knows, perhaps one day G becomes Great!)

    Maybe the decision rests with the most excellent awesome super fantastic goalie coach EVER!!!!

    Keep Ondrej could work against whats happening and therefore perhaps the brass lets him go and opts for AG as the backup upon Benoit’s recommendation.

    I know this, seeing Henrik on the bench watching a kid make good in net hit me like a ton of bricks… the future has to happen.. Shame to see his Rule coming to a close…


  • Paveleak and Georgiev can split their time between Hartford and the Rangers. Goalies need to play to keep sharp and develop.

  • Good dilemma to have. I would definitely sign Georgiev. He could be flipped later(a few years from now) like Talbot and Raanta. He’s also a bit younger than they both were so we have some time with him. Bring back Pavelec too. You may or may not be able to flip him. But you see what Philly had to do with Mzarek, so you never know. I would agree Georgiev should be in the AHL just so he plays as he needs to, but I would also not object to moving Pavelec to the AHL if the situation warrants. That would kill his trade value. I would agree don’t expect him to bring back a great pick. This is all pretty low risk.

      • you have Hank so Georgiev’s not going to start and he needs to play. How many starts does he get as Hanks backup? 25 to 35 games max? Not enough for a young kid. That’s why you have him in the AHL where he can play almost every night. With Igor waiting in the wings towards the end of Hanks contract it’s unlikely Georgiev is going to be The Rangers starting goalie ever. If he wants to be NHL starter it will most likely be elsewhere. But you need to develop him a bit more first.

    • I was reading a recent interview with Georgiev. He said that he prefers to start in the AHL rather than backup in the NHL. Thinks that it’s better to play a lot at this stage than sit on the bench .

      • he’s clearly a bright young man who understand how we will better himself over time…one more thing to like about him…

  • This BS 5-2-3 run …just shaking my head….and now comes all this talk of re-tool instead of approaching this with wisdom….

    Lundqvist has to get traded….he is a major root of all this talk…As Walt said NO player should ever get these type of contracts and there is talk of Tavares and Carlson and Karlsson coming here for exactly these type of contracts.

    When is this organization ever going to learn? Are we again heading the path of mortgaging the future for a shot at the Cup for once every 54 years?

    Geogriov is proving many things and that with him and Shestyorkin they will be the future tandem or the worst case he will get traded or selected at the expansion draft BECAUSE of Lundqvist

    Georgiev simply can be even greater than Lundqvist (speculation and not a prediction) because same was said of Lundqvist when he first appeared (you just never know)….time will tell.
    My point is not that Georgiev is better than Lundqvist rather it is that you don’t need a Lundqvist or Price or Rinne to win a Cup. you do need a process and we are derailing from that process

    • What it comes down to leather is so do we want to pay 8.5 mil a yr or $20.00 a hr ? ? For the same player

      • What it comes down to leather is so do we want to pay 8.5 mil a yr or $20.00 a hr ? ? For the same player

    • Even ignoring the valid concern that neither of the Russian prospects is a sure thing to leave the Motherland, isn’t it just a little bit early to anoint Alex and Igor as the goalie tandem of the future? And, since this is all just speculation anyway, if he proves himself, why couldn’t we have Alex as our #1 goalie with Henrik as the backup? Still speculating, keep Pav on the roster until 2020, and make him available for the expansion draft.

      • Joe
        You missed my point….read what I wrote again
        I even specified that to prevent this comment of yours

        I am not anointing anyone to anything

    • Leatherneck
      1. The answer to your question , ”’When is this organization ever going to learn? Are we again heading the path of mortgaging the future for a shot at the Cup for once every 54 years?”…………is NEVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      2. If they did learn then Kreider would have been on IR until we drop to the 4th or 5th worst record….his return changed the team dynamics and makes buch and zib play so much better!!!!!
      3. I will say it Georgiev and pavelic and most likely Shortsy are better or will be better than 36 year old Hank.
      4. Goalies DO NOT WIN CUPS!!!!! 100 % correct!!!!!
      5 . JT MILLER watch – 9 games-10 points- 5 goals…..this trade may turn out to be worse than the Ridley and Middleton trades!!!!!!!

      • 1. They’ve certainly made some repetitive mistakes, IMO the Sather Era penchant of trading picks for names being the most problematic in the last decade and a half or so. Paying a generational goalie the contract he had earned was not one of them.

        2. There are rules to IR. You can’t just put any player you want there for any purpose you want.

        3. Probably not. That said, Hank has reached a point in his career where he should be given more rest for his own good, whether the competitor in him likes it or not.

        4. While a team does not necessarily need an elite goalie to win a Cup, teams don’t usually win a Cup with a scrub in net, either. There are many ways to win a Cup, and yes, some teams have done it on the back of their Goalie (Tim Thomas’s insane performance during the Bruins’ last Cup run arguably the most recent example; that Finals also featured Vezina finalists on both sides).

        5. Short sample, and he has benefited from some TOI with their stars same as Namestnikov did. I neither hated or loved the Miller inclusion in the trade, but it is simply too soon to tell.

      • The thing with Miller is he’s shown that type of production with the Rangers, but then he disappears for long stretches. Also Tampa Bay is a much more talented team then the Rangers.

  • There is no reason to send Georgie back to Hartford for another entire year when he is good enough to play in the NHL right now….A very hard conversation is gonna have to be had with Henrik….either he wants to help us or he is selfish….Also I will shocked if Kovalchuck is not a Ranger next year…He will be the bridge to get Igor and Rykov over here and big brother to them and Buch, Names, Filip, Lias,and Hijack

  • Georgiev has been one of the few bright spots to this season’s end. I think he has shown he is NHL ready. The most realistic option is to play him in the NHL and send Pavelec to the AHL where he belongs.

    Pavelec is UFA after this year so I bet he is gone anyway.

  • If this team is really rebuilding, trade Hank to a contender who is a goalie away from serious contention. There are a few of them. Like what I’ve seen from Georgiev so far. This team needs 2 assets more than any other: a big D-man who can clear the front of the crease and clear the zone and a quick strike forward. Trade Hank for that kind of D-man and sign Kovy for 2 yrs. He wants to come here. He will also help other young Russian guys on this team.

    The Rangers have already blown their chance for an elite player in this draft. So signing Kovy for 2 yrs can sort be the needed sniper they might have drafted. Letting Pionk develop is fine. They’re not that far away from getting a lot younger and better.

  • This cannot be said enough in regard to multiple comments above: there is no realistic/tangible scenario in which trading Hank leaves the Rangers a meaningfully better team next season (at the least…I’d say this is actually true of at least the next two seasons, probably three). Even among imaginary scenarios – AKA if they managed to convince him to waive his NMC – it is extremely unlikely that they would find a suitor to take on his full cap hit, and certainly not to take on his full cap hit and send a good return. In fact, the most likely scenario would be retaining much of his salary AND getting a mediocre return. Saving $4.5M and getting a B prospect is of little use to the Rangers right now. They have a lot of financial freedom coming up soon (that doesn’t mean they will use it wisely, of course) and they are working on restocking the cupboards in ways that actually could translate to more tangible positive returns in the W-L column than trading the starting goalie.

    Personally, I think Georgiev is fine to be the backup next season. I don’t know as I personally feel he gains a ton from another year in Hartford. That said, I won’t be losing sleep if they re-sign Pavalec and then move him at the deadline if all looks lost by then…but I don’t think that’s where I’d be looking if I was Gorton, just because you’re not gonna get much in that scenario trading a veteran backup nine times of ten. Better to let Georgiev (hopefully) raise his stock so that in a few years if Shestyorkin is over and ready, you get a better return for Georgiev then – who if he continues with this rate of progression and has a meaningful sample of NHL games under his belt, may garner some real demand at that time.

    • If you got a 7th rounder for him….its more than you will get when his horrible contract runs out

    • A dose of reality: During the period 2005-2013, Henrik Lundqvist was likely the best goaltender in Ranger history. However, 2013 is now a long time ago. From 2013-2018, the Rangers have been more successful with the #2 goaltender in net than with Hank in net. Granted, guys like Talbot, Raantta, Georgiev are good tenders and Lundqvist has nothing to be ashamed of. He can still outperform a Pavelek.

      I agree with your comment that Hank would draw little in trade, but simply moving on and getting out from under some of the cap hit has its merits.

      There are actually four possibilities: (1) Lundqvist retires (2) Rangers buy out Lundqvist (3) Rangers trade Lundqvist (4) Rangers keep Lundqvist.

      Currently, Lundqvist is vetoing (1) and (3). However, there is a possible game of chicken here. The Rangers tell Hank they will buy him out. He may opt for (1) (unlikely) or (3) to avoid the embarrassment. Of course, unless the Rangers are willing to follow through, he can call their bluff.

      Would I buy out Hank? I don’t know. But it would make the team better and there are more ridiculous ideas, e.g., trading McDonagh.

      • $3,888,889

        Those are the cap penalties from next season through spring 2024 if Hank were to be bought out. That would be hurting the bottom line quite a bit 2-3 years from now right when the Rangers hope to be hitting their re-build/re-tool/re-whichever-term-one-prefers stride. Girardi needed to be bought out, and a case for Staal can be made either way.

        Even if Hank were playing terribly (he isn’t), and even if Talbot/Raanta/Georgiev/WhomeverTheHatersNextLatchOnto were more talented goalies at this point (they are not), the buyout would only make sense if things between Hank and the organization got so bad on a personal level that they felt Hank has quit on them and they need to move on in a drastic measure. Any other reason would be cutting the nose off in hopes of improving the face.

        The major thing the Rangers should be considering with Hank is getting him to agree to let the team play net-side in front of him, IF AV and his Hot Garbage System® is around next season. Because in this system, that has led to the aforementioned back-ups providing the illusion that they are more talented than Hank.

      • There is also the issue of marketing. Hank is currently the only famous “band” name there. MSG sells a boatload of jerseys with his name on them. He is one of, if not the most popular players of today and the last decade.

        Rangers are a marquee team, one of the faces on NHL. Hank is an assured HOA player, charismatic, successful, and one of the few players in the league who has broad market appeal. He is not a typical hockey robot, and his interviews are not of the “Um, the boys played hard, and the coaches plan was to win by scoring more goals then them.” And he wasn’t acquired via a trade in the twilight of his career. The appeal of a home grown superstar should not be overlooked.

        The Ranger organization is not moving Hank, even if he for some reason lets go of the NMC, until they have an equally marketable name on the roster.

  • Hank + NMC + He Loves NYC = Hank is not being traded. That is really all there is to that.

    For the remainder of the season, I’d have Hank be Georgiev’s backup for the most part so the kid gets as much NHL level game experience as he can. He has looked very good thus far and if that continues then there is no reason that he couldn’t back up Hank next year. Pavelec has been fine as a backup but if the Rangers believe that Georgiev doesn’t require more time in the AHL then he becomes expendable. It might come down to whether they believe the Wolfpack has an adequate goalie without Georgiev being there.

    • So you would trade Georgie and keep a 36 yr old goalie? Hank gave up alot of leads in the Ottawa series…..Got clowned by Ben Bishop in 2015…..Blew leads in all 3 games in LA in 2014…..Its time to tell him he’s gotta go and help the future Rangers

      • Most of the instances that you cite here were via high-danger chances due to defensive breakdowns. Also, I don’t recall Ben Bishop scoring on Hank in 2015. This is like when people make a football game solely about the QBs vs. each other…entirely asinine.

      • Michael: Not sure where you got anything from me about trading Georgiev. I’d like to see him as Hank’s backup next season. He looks like a keeper so far.

        But as far as Hank being traded, it is just not going to happen with his NMC and his apparent love of NYC. He won’t want to leave and if he doesn’t want to leave then he won’t be leaving. He controls his own fate.

    • Prob not much…Pavs finally got it going with us til he got hurt….I have no problem resigning him

  • As of now, next year’s team:
    Kreider, Zib, Buch
    Kovy, Namest, Nash
    Chytil, Hayes, Fast
    Grabner, Andersson, Belesky

    Skjei, Shatty
    Gilmour, ???
    Smith, Pionk

    Hank, Spooner, Zucc, Vesey traded for top 4 d-man and prospects

    • I think Spooner is still in the plans for the future. Depends on his salary demands,, but I really expect him to get an offer of a multi-year deal.

      I can see Nash coming back if he really wants to, but Grabner will probably chase a better offer from elsewhere. He has not made his big money, and this is his last chance at scoring a very good deal.

      I don’t think that good deal will come from the Rangers.

    • The only player in your scenario I see moving is Zuccarello. Lundqvist has a full NTC an seems to be on board with the rebuild. Spooner may be moved, but the way he’s been playing that seems unlikely. Not sure about Vesey.

  • I thought it was a forgone conclusion G had already solidified the backup spot. They even let him switch to Grabner’s number, which says a lot about one of these two guys’ spot on the Rangers next year.

  • I know what Henrik said this past trade deadline about him being only a NY kind of guy, BUT, perhaps after next season’s build and what the temperature and situation is like at the deadline, maybe moving him for something needed then would be something that makes more sense then now?

    Whats more important, young upcoming goalies on a team building or a true champion helping the team to miss the playoffs….

  • Sad news, Erik Karlsson’s son passed away today….Payers to him and his family….RIP kid

    • Oh good grief, that is terrible news. My heart felt condolences to the Karlsson family, may he rest in peace.

  • This kid Georgiev has looked really smooth and solid in goal. He should play the majority of the remaining games to see what we have in him. It would also help his development by gaining experience and confidence. Hank should be his backup the rest of this year. Also, let Allaire work his magic with the kid. What purpose is it at this point of this year, that Hank plays more of the games? It makes no sense. I thought we are in a youth movement mentality. Bring back Spooner and Namestekov next year. Forget about Nash and Grabner, out with the old, in with the new.. I also don’t agree to bring Kovy to sign with the Rangers. Is he really willing to help the other team mates when he brazenly bailed out and screwed New Jersey? Seems to me he has demonstrated that he is a self- centered person, not a team player. That to me, spells bad character. I don’t care how good he still may be, Let him stay in Russia or let some other sucker give him money. We have enough Russians to talk to each other on the team already. Keep building with youth!

  • Maybe LA will take pretty boy Hank.

    Bright lights , tv , movies ( his acting was pretty good after that hit the other night ! )

    GO YOUNG !!

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