Yesterday, Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko signed a new contract extension that will pay him $5 million over the next five years. Demko, with 62 NHL games under his belt thus far, has a career line of 2.92 GAA and .911 SV%. The contract takes the 25 year old netminder through his age-30 season. Almost immediately there were calls to sign Igor Shesterkin to a similar contract this offseason.
Shesterkin, also 25, has half the NHL games of Demko, at just 30 so far. He has a better stat line with a 2.40 GAA and .920 SV%. On paper, the two goalies are certainly comparable. Funny enough, they both have a rather expensive backup as well, signed through next season. That tidbit doesn’t impact anything, it’s just amusing.
The wild card is Shesterkin’s dominant run through the KHL. In 117 KHL games, Shesterkin put up an incredible 1.68 GAA, .935 SV%, with 27 shutouts. Those are almost alien-like numbers. I am no NHL agent or GM, so I honestly do not know if KHL numbers are used in negotiations. Logic would dictate they are, but logic would also dictate that they aren’t weighed nearly as much. If I were Igor Shesterkin, I’d want those numbers to play into any contract negotiation.
Shesterkin *is* better
I don’t think you needed any of the stat lines or charts to know that Shesterkin is a better goalie than Demko. It’s not really debatable. Shesterkin’s numbers have been on the steady rise since taking the starters reins from that silly goalie rotation the Rangers had going. He is consistently great and keeps getting better.
Prior to the Demko contract, I didn’t see Shesterkin getting $5 million a season. He didn’t have the NHL experience, in my opinion. Now I think he does, and possibly eclipses that amount. It’s amazing how one contract can change the landscape. If Shesterkin gets a Demko contract, that would be considered a bargain.