It is time for the Rangers to trade Georgiev. Not because of his struggles recently, which are not nearly as bad as they seem, but because the Rangers need a true backup. Alex Georgiev is not that true backup. If there is one thing we have seen from him, it’s that getting spot starts has led to wildly inconsistent play. He lets in bad goals, but then makes great saves that most NHL goalies don’t stop. Both were on display in full force the other night in Minnesota.
Remember in December when Igor Shesterkin got hurt, and Georgiev took over? Georgiev went 4-3-0 in that span, stopping 172 of 184 shots for a .934 SV%. Shesterkin returned after Christmas and took back the starting role. Georgiev put up 3 great starts over the next four, and then fell of a cliff. He barely played, getting maybe one game a week, and then had an entire month in between starts.
If you’re not in the backup mindset, then it’s difficult to be a backup. This is the primary reason why Henrik Lundqvist was ok with the buyout, as the future was clearly Shesterkin’s, and he wanted to be a starter. While comparing Georgiev to Lundqvist isn’t the best, it’s the mindset we are talking about here. Georgiev has shown he’s a starter, not a backup.
This is the primary reason why the Rangers need to trade Georgiev. Georgiev is saying all the right things and doing the best he can in a very bad spot for him, but it is time for both player and team to move on. Both are in a losing situation, as Georgiev simply cannot do the backup job. Georgiev will land on his feet, but the Rangers also need a true backup. And no, Keith Kinkaid is not the guy you want to rely on to give Shesterkin much needed rest.
The tricky piece for Chris Drury is where to trade Georgiev, and when. Teams like Edmonton, possibly Toronto (with the Jack Campbell news), Vegas (who has asked about Georgiev before), and maybe Washington? That’s just the possible playoff teams. Of all the team executives, I think Jeff Gorton would know Georgiev best, so perhaps Montreal gets involved? But that likely wouldn’t be until the draft, if they even decide to go that route with Carey Price’s uncertain future.
The price to trade Georgiev is understandably high, given what he has done in the past and what he continues to do when he’s a regular starter. But there is always a difference between perceived value and actual value. After all, there’s a vocal contingent of Rangers fans that think Georgiev will only fetch a bag of pucks. I’d say Edmonton’s situation is the most dire, since goaltending is the sole thing keeping them out of the playoffs right now.
The other question is when. As mentioned with Arthur Staple on Live From The Blue Seats, Chris Drury needs to get the timing right. The second he deals Georgiev, the price for a backup goes up. The second he trades for a backup, the price to trade Georgiev goes down. It’s simple leverage. Can he line up a deal for someone like Anton Forsberg in Ottawa while also lining up a deal with Georgiev? It’s a juggling act few can accomplish.
The concern now is that the Rangers need to trade Georgiev, as opposed to before when they would have liked to trade him. It’s getting close to untenable, but not from a personality or locker room standpoint. He’s simply a luxury the Rangers cannot afford to keep. A second starter is great, but the Rangers don’t need that. The Rangers need a true backup goalie, and they may need to eat some trade value on Georgiev to make it work.