November 17, 2020

Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev have to replace a New York Rangers legend

Shesterkin and Lundqvist (Sarah Stier/USA Today Sports, via Reuters)

“The King”, who had his contract bought out by the only NHL franchise he had ever known over the summer. Henrik Lundqvist packed up his crown, goalie pads and Hall of Fame credentials, to take the Amtrak Ascela down to Washington, D.C..

Now the daunting task of replacing a New York Rangers legend falls on two young goalies, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.

Replacing a New York Rangers Legend

Replacing a beloved legend of a franchise at any position in any sport is a Herculean task. In this case, the Blueshirts will enlist the help of their dynamic young duo of Igor Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev. It’s up to them to take the reigns and continue the impressive Ranger goaltender lineage that dates all the way back to the 1928 Stanley Cup Finals. That’s when head coach Lester Patrick had to leave the bench to fill in for the injured Lorne Chabot between the pipes in game 2 of the Finals.

Current team president and former goalie John Davidson speaks about the unforgeable night back in 1975 when the legendary fan-favorite Eddie Giacomin returned to the Garden, This was just days after being let go by the Blueshirts and signing with the Detroit Red Wings.

new york rangers goalies
Rangers locker room in Toronto (NHLI/NYR)

When former goalie John Vanbiesbrouck was exposed in the expansion draft following the end of the 1992-93 season, Mike Richter was handed the responsibility of being the team’s number 1 goalie. To this day, Richter gives credit to number 34 for helping him become the Stanley Cup Champion that Ranger fans all over the world simply admire and adore.

Related: Henrik Lundqvist tells reporter he has a job with the NYR when he retires

The pressure will be high on Shesterkin and Georgiev

The pressure and the expectations that will be resting on the shoulders of Shesterkin and Georgiev will be immense. Remember folks, the Rangers braintrust felt Lundqvist’s services were no longer required.

The wanna-be general managers will assuredly take to social media if Lundqvist regains his All-Star form in Our Nation’s Capital and the current Rangers goaltender situation resembles a quagmire. While the chances are unlikely of both Shesterkin and Georgiev struggling, there can be a modicum of uneasiness and a sprinkling of anxiety as neither has had the awesome responsibility of being a number 1 goalie of an NHL franchise.

One would assume that Shesterkin will be the goalie leading his team out of the locker room on to the ice when the Rangers begin play some time next year. The expectation is that it will be number 31’s job to lose. If the talented but inexperienced Shesterkin does take a few steps back in his first full NHL season, Georgiev will be waiting to pick up the slack as he has done, wonderfully the last two seasons with Lundqvist.

Patience will be key with the young goalies

new york rangers goalies
Georgiev and Lundqvist (NHLI/Getty Images)

My friends, replacing a legend is one of the more difficult and arduous tasks for a franchise. Heck, the New York Jets still have not found an adequate replacement for “Broadway” Joe Namath even though it’s been well over 40 years since he last took a snap with “Gang Green”. Same can be said for the Miami Dolphins and Dan Marino.

John Davidson, successfully grabbed the baton from Giacomin and led the Rangers to the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals. Richter flourished in the number one goaltender role to help slay the 1940 dragon in June of 1994. It certainly remains to be seen whether or not the combination of Shesterkin and Georgiev can bring the Rangers to the Promised Land and accomplish the one achievement missing from Lundqvist’s mantle and that is a Stanley Cup.

The pressure will be heavy. The expectations will be overwhelming. Let’s see if Alex and Igor are up to the challenge.

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