Goaltending

NY Rangers goalie battle: Who gets the call against Carolina?

The NY Rangers have a unique goalie battle coming into camp next week. With the NHL Return to Play rules allowing for unlimited goalies, the Rangers are also allowed to take advantage of such a situation. The Blueshirts have one of the best goalies of all time in Henrik Lundqvist. They have a rookie touted as his successor in Igor Shesterkin. Finally, they have the surprise rock in net in Alex Georgiev. But only one can play in the play-in round against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Each goalie is capable of stealing a series or more. The Rangers have the luxury of being able to ride whichever of the three gets hot, but they won’t have much time to make that decision. There are just three weeks between camp starting and the first game. John Davidson has stated that it will indeed be a goalie battle for who gets the call for the NY Rangers. There are very clear reasons to go with each goalie as well.

Henrik Lundqvist

The incumbent. One of the best of all time, Lundqvist owns the Canes. He went 3-0 with a .947 SV% against the Canes this season, making at least 39 saves in all three games. Over his career, Lundqvist is 24-4-0 with a 1.73 GAA and a .947 SV% against the Canes.

His playoff career speaks for itself: 128 GP, 2.28 GAA and a .922 SV%. He also has a 6-2 record in Game Sevens. There’s a reason why he’s The King.

However The King is now 38 years old and was third on the depth chart behind Shesterkin and Georgiev. He had the worst goalie raw numbers on the team (3.16 GAA, .905 SV%), although there are certainly timing factors (most of Lundqvist’s games were October-November) at play there. The above shows Hank was certainly below average, but was steadying himself as the Rangers started to perform better. That also coincides with Shesterkin’s call up and Hank’s reduced playing time.

If the Rangers get vintage Lundqvist, he and that potent offense can carry the Rangers.

Alex Georgiev

Georgiev burst onto the scene last season, stealing the show with a .914 SV% for a truly awful Rangers team. This year, Georgiev has shown brilliance, but had more human performances thrown in there. His overall numbers weren’t that much better than Hank’s this season – a 3.04 GAA and a .910 SV%. Only 11 of those starts came in the truly awful October-November frame. The rest were December through the rest of the year, when the Rangers started figuring it out.

Georgiev had the highest peak of any Rangers goalie this season. When he’s hot, he’s white-hot. But he also had the lowest valley, and finished the season with the worst goals saved vs. expected of the trio.

Georgiev, like Lundqvist, can steal a series. But he is truly a wild card, because his season-long numbers show he might be the third best option on the team.

Igor Shesterkin

Shesterkin has been pegged as the heir-apparent to Lundqvist for quite some time. Even when Georgiev was stealing some thunder, it was always Shesterkin’s spot to lose. He forced his way onto the NHL roster with stellar play at the AHL level and never looked back.

Shesterkin’s numbers are far and away the best on the team with a 2.52 GAA and a .932 SV%. Even when accounting for when he played, he was visibly the best goalie the Rangers had.

Shesterkin also sported by far the best advanced goalie stats on the team. This shouldn’t be a surprise though.

One of the benefits of using Shesterkin –aside from his team-best numbers– is that he’s an unknown for most teams. There is no tape on how to beat him yet. We’ve seen rookie goalies make runs, and Shesterkin certainly has the skill.

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  • The break gives Hank a chance to start out even with Igor. Whatever “mojo” Shesty had when the season was interrupted is more than likely gone — although he could come in and start up where he left off. So I would say it’s between the two of them with Georgi a distant 2nd.

    I have a sneaky suspicion it’s Hank in the 1st game (maybe his last as a Ranger), but then it’s purely dependent on performance (wins).

    • Igor needs to start, if it wasn’t for Igor we would not be talking playoffs, Hank is done and has been for years as a starter.

  • Seems like Quinn is going to assess who looks sharper in training period with tie going to Igor as the incumbent # 1.

  • Who to start? Well, do we want a …

    Better chance for the cup: Then… Igor
    Better chance for Lafreniere: Then… Hank

    Simple. What’s your preference?

  • “Each goalie is capable of stealing a series or more…”

    So far only Hank proved it. Shesty played just 14 reg games. Georgiev is good kid as Shesty, but… key is steal the series.
    DQ dumb ass will go with Shesty while logical decision would be Hank

    • Agree should be Hank this is his time and he is well rested,agree Igor is the new ranger goalie of the future but not just yet

    • Of it wasn’t for Igor we would not even be talking playoffs. Time to pull your head out of Hanks anal cavity.

  • I hope this is a joke. The only question is whether Igor Shesterkin is already better than Lundqvist ever was.

    Yes, any NHL goaltender can steal a series. But Lundqvist has certainly not done so since the Penguins in 2014. And it isn’t fair to give a bad Ranger team in the fall as an excuse for Hank. Controlling the puck is a six man problem, not a five man problem. Even when Hank was awesome at keeping the puck out of the net, he was a liability in the puck control game. Just keeping him out of the game is a big plus for the Ranger skaters. And Shesterkin is one of the best in this department.

    I hope DQ realizes he has one superstar and two guys who are capable backups. I doubt very much that there are six teams in the playoffs that would swap their starter for either Georgiev or Hank.

  • Depends. If the Rangers want to win the series they play Shesterkin. If they want a shot of the number 1 overall draft pick, then Lundqvist gets the nod.

  • My argument for Igor is based partly on his stellar performance (in what was a small sample size), and upon Hank’s history of needing to shake off the rust after a long layoff.

    Hey, if they go with Hank that is understandable because he has a storied history. But, my armchair coaching would be to call on Igor and see how he does in the first game.

    • The thing is Shesterkin can’t steal a series because with Shesterkin in goal, the Rangers are probably flat out the best team in the NHL.

    • Igor has been stellar for years, what small sample size. He he was stellar in Russia, came to the US, smaller rink and continued his stellar play, from the AHL to the NHL, the kid is lights out between the pipes.

  • Wow, it will be tough

    “McKenzie: The plan is to play three games a day both in Edmonton and Toronto and the timetable template in local times is to schedule those games at noon, 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Now, keep in mind the two-hour time difference between Edmonton and Toronto. It means basically there’s going to be six games a day spread out over a 15-hour window, if not longer. And I know you’re going to ask me well what happens if there’s multiple multi-overtime games because it’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it’s unlimited overtime. My answer to that would be that’s hockey. That’s the way it goes. Now, I can also tell you though, in the preliminary round, when you’ve got four placement teams in the East and the West – the top four teams in each conference – playing seeding games, there isn’t unlimited overtime. So, what they will do there, they’ll just use regular season overtime and shootout. They would put those games in the 4:00 spot to try and make up time if the first game of the day goes really long, or to give yourself a finite finish time so that it can get to the evening game. But that’s basically the way it’s going to work. And it could be like U.S. Open tennis once we get into the playoffs. It’s not unheard of to start primetime matches at midnight.”

  • It all depends on how they look during the mini camp training sessions. The NYRs dont expect to win the cup. Would be amazing, but we aren’t there yet. The rest has definite benefits to Hank, however, he is a notoriously slow starter. But if he looks sharper than Igor, even by the slightest bit, then I would say the may chose to go with Hank in Game 1, due to his playoff experience…not to mention his career and 2020 season against CAR. He will be highly motivated too due to this potentially being his last hoorah with the NYR.

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