Alexandar Georgiev Should Be The Rangers Backup Come October
It is officially the offseason in the National Hockey League, despite our beloved New York Rangers being off for the last two months, but who’s counting. It is now time to dive into what this team may look like come October.
With Ondrej Pavelec becoming a UFA this offseason, his place on the Rangers roster doesn’t seem likely. Especially with the availability of some top goalie talent in KHL star Igor Shestyorkin, possibly Adam Huska and last year’s notable backup Alexandar Georgiev, the aging Pavelec should not be brought back by Jeff Gorton.
For this upcoming season, I believe the best available netminder to back up Henrik Lundqvist will be Georgiev. Again this is for next season. Over the long haul, it may come down to a duel between Georgiev and Shestyorkin.
I have expressed in the past that Georgiev should be the rebuilds backup. One, two or however many seasons it takes to return to being a Stanley Cup contender, behind the King should be Georgiev.
Success As An NHL Backup
In ten appearances last season, including nine starts, Georgiev proved to be a viable backup goaltender behind Lundqvist. He held a record of 4-4-1, allowing 3.15 goals against, and accumulating a .918 save percentage.
In five of those ten games in net, the Bulgarian native stopped 35 or more pucks. He faced constant pressure and showed the ability to hold his own as a 22-year-old in his rookie season.
Learning from Lundqvist and his guru, coach Benoit Allaire, is a recipe for success for Georgiev. Giving the kid room to improve behind Lundqvist in a rebuilding year with a nearly entirely new coaching staff should be considered. What is the worst that can happen?
He Is Ready To Go
The aforementioned Igor Shestyorkin and Adam Huska are other notable names for the backup role. However, Shestyorkin won’t be coming to North America for at least another year, and Huska is still at UConn. When will they get their opportunity to play at MSG is anyone’s guess.
Shestyorkin has been a brick wall in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg. His past two seasons have been outstanding in all aspects of the word. In 2017-18, he went 20-4-4 and allowed a measly 1.70 goals against, and boasted the sixth-best save percentage in the league at .933%.
Shestyorkin is slated to remain with SKA at least for 2018-19, despite the amazing numbers. Whether something changes during the summer, his arrival in New York doesn’t seem likely for at least a little while.
As Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote back in April, this top prospect in the Rangers system is staying in Russia for the time being.
“Blueshirts’ goaltending prospect Igor Shestyorkin played a sum of 59 seconds in relief for SKA in the playoffs, but according to a well-placed source, “There is no chance,” the 22-year-old would be allowed to leave the KHL for New York before the end of his contract that runs through next season.”
Georgiev Deserves The Chance
Let him learn behind the best in the game. Let him learn through the worst of times to make an impact when the Rangers come out of this rebuild. New coach, new staff and a lot of unanswered questions on this roster will be looked at all summer long; but with Lundqvist and Georgiev, they can focus on the guys playing in front of them.