Exploring a potential Alex Georgiev trade at the draft

alex georgiev

Alex Georgiev is somewhat of a revelation. The undrafted free agent, plucked from SM-liiga after the 2016-2017 season, has quickly established himself as the backup goalie capable of starting in the NHL. Georgiev burst on to the scene last season with a .918 SV% in his 10 games. He struggled to start the season, and has quickly turned things around with a .909 SV% on a bad team with no defense. That SV% puts him at 28th in the league of goalies making at least 25 starts.

Georgiev’s status is an interesting one with the Rangers. He’s not part of the immediate future, as that’s Henrik Lundqvist’s role. He’s not part of the up and coming kids, as that is Igor Shestyorkin’s supposed role. He’s a 23-year-old stopgap. When was the last time you heard of a goalie that young with his performance being a stopgap? The only thing that might change his status is if Lundqvist asks for a trade to a Cup contender. Or the Heir Apparent in Shestyorkin turns out to be a dud. Assuming neither of those happen, then Georgiev’s future in New York is cloudy at best.

The Rangers have been in this situation before. Cam Talbot posted significantly better numbers with the Rangers from 2013-2015 before being shipped to Edmonton for 2nd, 3rd, and 7th round picks in 2015. Aside from the stats, there are two major differences between Talbot and Georgiev:

  1. Talbot was 28 at the time, while Georgiev is 23.
  2. The Rangers were significantly better during Talbot’s years.

When it comes to goalie trade markets, it’s almost impossible to predict. The goalie market, much like drafting goalies, is voodoo. Here’s a look at the last goalie trades at the draft over the past three years. The caveat here is that the goalie must be in the NHL and be the centerpiece of the deal.

  • 2018 – None.
  • 2017 – None.
  • 2016 – Jonathan Bernier to Anaheim for a conditional pick.
  • 2016 – Anders Nilsson to Buffalo for a 5th round pick.
  • 2016 – Jack Campbell to LA for defenseman Nick Ebert.
  • 2016 – Brian Elliott to Calgary for a 2nd round pick.
  • 2016 – Reto Berra to Florida for forward Rocco Grimaldi.
  • 2016 – Frederik Andersen to Toronto for 1st and 2nd round picks.

Let’s call the Elliott and Andersen trades the only ones worth keeping in the same breath as Georgiev, in addition to the Talbot trade. That’s three starting goalies, each going for draft picks. Let’s compare those three to Georgiev.

Goalie Age Record GAA SV% Return
Georgiev 23 11-12-3 3.02 0.909 N/A
Andersen 26 22-9-7 2.30 0.919 1st, 2nd
Elliott 30 23-8-6 2.07 0.930 2nd
Talbot 28 21-9-4 2.21 0.926 2nd, 3rd, 7th

We can expand this to GSAA (goals-saved-above-average).¬†We can get the actual GSAA numbers from NaturalStatTrick, which has Georgiev at a -6.80 and 78th in the league. For comparison’s sake, Lundqvist is 31st in the league at 2.47. So even with advanced stats accounting –at least partially– for poor team quality and high quantity/quality of shots faced, Georgiev just doesn’t have the numbers.

Now this doesn’t mean that Georgiev can’t fetch something worth while at the draft. After all, goalies are voodoo. Brian Elliott was nowhere near as good following his trade from St. Louis, and it’s argued that his stint there actually inflated his numbers. Cam Talbot had two solid years in Edmonton, but then he fell off a cliff before being traded to Philly. The only goalie to hold his numbers is Andersen, who is tops in the league in GSAA right now. You never know what a team is willing to do for goaltending, especially young goaltending that comes with a cheap cap hit.

Based off the evidence, though, it doesn’t look like the Rangers will get an offer worth their while for their 23 year old netminder. The stats aren’t there, and neither is the pedigree. In theory, holding on to him one more year might maximize his value. There’s no rush to trade him, after all. If some team comes calling with a solid deal, then great! Otherwise, is it really worth trading him for a mid-round pick?