Goaltending

Fallout from Henrik Lundqvist buyout gives Rangers more time to evaluate young goalies

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.

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  • Let’s be realistic here. All indications are that Alex Georgiev is a solid back-up goaltender. The only indication that he may be starter material is that he used to be the best Ranger goaltender. Alas, by now, it should be clear to all but Ranger fans that the reason he was the top Ranger goalie was that his competition was not any good. We saw in the latter part of the year what an actual good goaltender could do with the Rangers.

    The Rangers won’t get much in trade for him AND they will create a hole at #2 goalie which they will need to fill.

    Mind you, IF the Rangers don’t see Chityl as a 2C ever – and IF the 2C of the future is on the market, well they may have to deal players they want to keep and Georgi might be of value as a throw-in.

  • Igor looks like the heir apparent. But, Igor has not played much in the NHL. Georgiev, given regular starts, is capable of stealing games. I’d keep him and give him some playing time too unless a major deal for an impact player comes along where he is demanded to seal it. Then you search for a stopgap backup, which should not be that hard.

    • There is absolutely no question how good Igor is, none whatsoever – certainly the most talented goalie the Rangers have ever had. What we don’t know is how well he will hold up physically and mentally. Might a few bad goals shake his confidence and cause him to “forget” how to play the position? Can he stay healthy now and can he stay healthy when he is 30?

  • Please clarify my understanding. If we buy out Henrik we get 3 million to use this year although we must pay 1.5 on the cap for next year. Of the 3 million saved this year we would have to use about 1.5 million for Georgiev or another backup, leaving us roughly even over the two years. Seems it make more sense to keep Henrik as the backup and use Georgie as part of a trade. With the possible performance bonuses we could use that 1.5 million. The temptation is to use the money to keep Strome and or D’Angelo. What we don’t need is hasty decisions on long term contracts. with all the people we need to sign in the next few years, some of whom we might want on a long term deal, being careful on who you keep and who you trade becomes even more important. I think the good teams that are competitive for the SC on a regular basis keep developing people in their pipeline and make decision to trade people early and get more draft choices or people on ELCs. I recognize I was all over the place, sorry about that, but It so much easier to make these decisions while looking out on my backyard than it would be in the MSG offices.

    • Under this scenario who would be the backup the subsequent season? Shesty has played 12 games in the NHL so it is an important question. Rangers seem to value Georgiev as a backup and the goalie trade market seems quite saturated right now.

    • It isn’t about money. There are three reasons why Lundqvist must be gone.

      First of all, as long as he is here, this will be Hank’s team. Fans will press to make him the starter in the playoffs. The team much as they did this year when Georgi, a better goalie, was passed over against Carolina.

      Second, the defense needs to be strengthened – and that means playing a consistent system that actually works, not bending over backwards to suit Hank’s whims.

      Third and last, the back-up goalie needs to play 15-20 games and Lundqvist simply is not good enough to fill that role.

      ***********

      The big what if. If Sather had been unable to sign Lundqvist in 2013, how many Cups would Alain Vigneault have won as Ranger coach? I’d be surprised if the answer were zero.

      • “The big what if. If Sather had been unable to sign Lundqvist in 2013, how many Cups would Alain Vigneault have won as Ranger coach? I’d be surprised if the answer were zero.”

        This is utter nonsense. You do remember we were shut out twice on home ice in the Tampa series, AV did such a great job of adjusting. And the great gum-chewer was a total disaster in the Ottawa series. Awful at managing personnel.

        • Maybe they would not have been shut out if they had another goal scorer instead of spending $8.5M on their second best goalie.

          Seriously, without Lundqvist, it is a different team. They have a different budget. The whole style of the defense is changed. Every game is changed. The playoff pairings might even change. We can’t know what would happen; we only know what did happen. The Rangers won zero Cups in six years and Lundqvist was the second best Ranger goal tender every one of those years.

          He will be in the Hall of Fame because he has had great press and makes highlight reel saves, not really because he deserves it.

  • If the Rangers don’t buy out Hank and trade Georgie, what are we left with? I guess what ever Georgie gets us (I don’t see him as a throw in), and a young goalie who has played brilliantly for twelve games, and an aged very much liked goalie who recently hasn’t played well, with a big contract, but surely would be an asset to help the young guys, at a big price.

    I guess the way to look at this is the Rangers need that money to finance this rebuild, although I heard something about Dolan dollars (lucky to have worked for Charles Dolan’s Cablevision previously, brilliant man, and a real gentleman). Anyway, here we are, and the question is, if Hank is bought out, and Georgie is only a throw in, why not hold on to him, and let Shester play this year, and kick the can next year?

  • Buy out Hank and keep Georgie for at least 1-2 years hoping that the trade value increases in a different goalie market.

    Move Strome and sign Koivu to a short term 1-2 year deal @ half the cost of Strome (assuming there isn’t a good young 2C out there that we can “steal” for Strome+). Give Chytil a shot at the 2nd line, have Koivu play a la Jesper Fast, a bottom 6 guy (3C) that can move up to the Top 6 when needed. Plus you get a Finnish mentor for Kakko

  • Interesting idea. Big question is salary. Koivu made $5.5M last year, question is how much of a pay cut he will accept.

    Koivu had 31 ES points last year, one less than Kreider, and was +2 on a minus team, so he is still a decent player. [Strome had 42 ES points playing with Panarin with seven more games so Koivu was conceivably still better than Strome.]

  • Henk as elite as he was, is the Ranger goalie of the past. George and Shesterkin are the netminders of the future. Time to move on.

    • Hank may not be elite anymore but he is still a serviceable goalie. I say keep Hank and move gorgie if the price is right. Let hank mentor igor for one season. Let’s not forget we have Wall and another Swedish goalie that are both pretty good and can become the backups in 2 season. My thinking here is let’s not add cap space on a buyout for next season. We most likely won’t win a cup and there are really no good free agents on the market we can resign both strome and TDA to one year deals and use them as trade bait at the deadline next season unless someone comes knocking at the draft

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