Are the New York Rangers more than just Igor Shesterkin?

New York Rangers
Feb 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) celebrates with right wing Ryan Reaves (75) after defeating the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The quote about the New York Rangers from an anonymous NHL executive in a recent ESPN feature reverberated for several days in Rangerstown.

The question posed was simple: Are the Rangers just Igor Shesterkin?

“Yes,” the exec said.

C’mon…really? Is there anything else to the fact they are one of the top teams in the NHL.

“No,” the executive doubled down. “They’re not very good.”

No need to apologize for Igor Shesterkin

There is a lot of credence too emphasizing the Rangers’ success due to Igor Shesterkin’s goaltending.

Here is how the 26 year-old goaltender’s stats rank among all NHL goalies with a minimum of 20 appearances this season:

  • .937 SV% (1ST)
  • 2.10 GAA (2ND)
  • 22 WINS (4TH)

According to Natural Stat Trick, Shesterkin also leads the entire NHL for goalies in HDSV% (High Danger SV%) with .871. Impressive indeed and why he is considered the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy.

So, is the Rangers’ record really just a byproduct of Shesterkin’s goaltending? It certainly is a huge factor but not the only thing.

Unless you accumulate victories by SV% alone, someone is putting in the goals that win games too. Last I checked, Shesterkin doesn’t even have an assist to his name this season.

For years, the Rangers were buoyed by the great goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist. They rode that to several Conference Finals and one Finals appearance. If Shesterkin is that good, there is nothing wrong with that.

Did the Montreal Canadiens apologize for Patrik Roy in 1993, or Carey Price last season?

Like MSG Analyst Steve Valiquette has been saying all season, the Rangers don’t need to apologize for Shesterkin’s great goaltending.

Rangers ESPN article is just wrong

igor shesterkin
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are no fluke at 30-13-4. As Ryan Reaves said not too long ago, “standings don’t lie.” 

As the league embarks on the All-Star Break, the Rangers are tied for 4th in the NHL’s overall standings with 64 points. Representing them is Chris Kreider, who leads the league in goals with 33 and power play goals 17.

Also selected was defenseman Adam Fox, who is tied for the scoring lead among defenseman with 47. He will not play due to an injury. Fans voted Mika Zibanejad as The Last Man In, but due to personal issues home in Sweden he can’t attend. His 49 points makes him 5th among all centers in scoring.

By the way, did we forget Artemi Panarin? He’s been on a scoring tear after a slow start and now has 52 points on the season and getting closer to his 1.38 points per game average from his previous two seasons on Broadway.

The real issue with the Rangers for the anonymous executive and others are their underlying numbers which shows them dead last in corsi (possession). In addition to that, they have trouble scoring at even strength.

Funny, I thought being able to score on special teams was essential when it comes to winning close playoff games.

Bottom line, the Rangers like almost all teams that will make the playoffs have strengths and weaknesses. But to say the team is nothing more than Igor Shesterkin is an egregious over simplification.

Plus, it’s just wrong.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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