The NHL buyout period begins next week, when it looks like the NY Rangers will finalize a buyout of the face of their franchise. The fallout from the Henrik Lundqvist buyout includes the obvious cap and roster space. Those are important, but perhaps the most important aspect is allowing the team to kick a decision down the road. That decision is Igor Shesterkin or Alex Georgiev, and which goalie will be the future of the team.
Shesterkin Hasn’t Played That Much
It appears all but certain that Igor Shesterkin will be the future in net. So it’s hard to remember that he’s only played 13 NHL games, and 38 total North American games. The numbers are stellar, and he’s looked fantastic. However it’s only been 13 games. When the Rangers committed to Henrik Lundqvist, he had a full season under his belt.
There’s still a chance that Shesterkin fizzles out completely. It’s unlikely, but there’s still that chance. He hasn’t seen a SV% below .932 since 2015-2016. It seems like a sure thing at this point, but stranger things have happened. He’s also one injury away from pulling a Rick DiPietro. Remember, DiPietro was solid until his hip injuries. Kicking the can down the road one more season while they still have team control is a smart move.
Georgiev Can Still Build Value
There’s a strong case that Alex Georgiev is the best total package for goalies available this offseason. He’s got the combination of youth, affordability, and track record. In an offseason that is flooded with goalie options, Georgiev can still fetch a decent amount.
It goes beyond just building value as well. The Rangers see something in Georgiev, which is why they haven’t committed to trading him just yet. Goalies are weird, and Georgiev may actually turn out to be better than Shesterkin. With the team control, the Rangers kick this can down the road as well.
Georgiev May Still Be Traded
I still stand by my belief that a decision on Lundqvist does not impact Georgiev’s Rangers future directly. He’s still the only team and cost controlled goalie on the market. The Rangers now don’t *need* to trade him, but if the right offer is there, then he’s not untouchable either.
It looks like the Rangers will be content to let the young duo split starts and make a decision after this season. They won’t lose Georgiev to expansion either, so there’s true value in kicking the can down the road. The fallout from the Henrik Lundqvist buyout does mean they can wait on their goaltending future.