Igor Shesterkin is the Rangers number one goalie despite recent talk

David Quinn answered a question about goaltending recently. In particular, if Igor Shesterkin was the number one and how he would be using his two goalies.

“In this season, every team in this league is going to have to rely on their two goalies,” Quinn said Tuesday. “We’re fortunate because we feel that we have two No. 1 goalies. I’m not just saying that. [Georgiev] has had a good career so far. I think he’s ready to make the next step. [Shesterkin], in a small sample, certainly proved he can be a really good goalie at this level. We feel we have great goaltending depth and both of these guys are going to be contributors. We’re certainly going to lean on both of them during the course of the season.”


Rangers will need both goalies

The 2021 NHL season is slated at 56 games to be played within a four and half month span. This will in essence be a game every other day on the schedule with plenty of back-to-backs.

This is going to put a serious emphasis on the goaltending tandem of Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. There is no doubt that making the playoffs for some teams will rely heavily on having two very good goalies to shoulder the load. You can argue that’s truer for the Rangers than most other squads.

Shesterkin is the number one goalie

The New York Rangers bought out Henrik Lundqvist to make way for Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. Jeff Gorton and the organization realized last season the new NHL trend of playing both your goalies almost equally. The days where the number one played 70 out of 82 are just about dead. This realization will be incredibly important to the Rangers this season especially.

New York Rangers goalies
Georgiev(l) and Shesterkin(r) to lead NYR (Getty Images/FTHN Edit)

Another reason to both need to play is that David Quinn’s Blueshirts give up a ton of shots. In 2019-2020 the Rangers allowed 2381 shots against, the third most in the league. To contrast, the Flyers led all teams with just 1977 shots against.

While the Rangers have a young defense, adding Jack Johnson is not going to bring down the 34 shots against per game average down. Team defense also lost forward Jesper Fast to free agency so the kids in the lineup will need to pick up their games on both sides of the puck.

As they say, Igor and Alex are about see more rubber than roadkill on a Saskatchewan highway.

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Outlook for Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev

Shesterkin was a highly touted prospect and he lived up to the hype with a 10-2 record in 12 games. The 24 year-old did that with an impressive .932 SV% and 2.32 GAA. He is coming in as the number one, a spot he earned thanks to those stellar numbers.

Last season, Shesterkin basically helped propel the Rangers into playoff contention with stellar net-minding. He did so in impressive fashion earning a 7 game winning streak that included victories against Toronto, Winnipeg, and Carolina. He also faced over 40 shots in 5 of his 12 starts, winning every single contest.

new york rangers goalies
Alexandar Georgiev (Getty Images)

Georgiev on the other hand will act as a 1B. The 24 year-old has proven to be capable with a .910 SV% in his brief NHL career of 77 games. Playing the role of Henrik Lundqvist’s primary backup since 2017-18, he has earned 35 wins on a rebuilding team.

Prediction: A 55/45 split with Igor Shesterkin leading the way is how I see it. While the sample size was relatively small for him, The Czar of NY led all three goalies in High Danger SV% with an .857 (Lundqvist .850, Georgiev .828) last season.


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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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