March 6, 2020

Is it time for the Rangers to scratch Henrik Lundqvist?

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

That headline is not something I’d ever thought I’d write, but it is nearly impossible for me not to. Objectively writing about a team or player you have a rooting passion for is difficult, but I’d be failing you readers if I didn’t. Because here we are, with the Rangers new #1, Igor Shesterkin ready to resume his rightful place in goal. So do the Rangers keep dressing Henrik as the honorary back up, or do they go forward with their goaltending tandem of the future? Will Alexander Georgiev be in Hank’s spot on the bench tomorrow? It has happened already once this season and it may happen again very soon.

Why he should be scratched

The numbers don’t lie. Of all three goalies this season, it is clear that Henrik Lundqvist is not on the same level as Shesterkin and Georgiev. Many fans who are still loyal to The King (as we should all be) will say that the Rangers play poorly in front of him. The truth is, the Rangers team in front of Hank is the same that is in front of the other two. Bottom line is they are just better at this time, and Shesterkin has been flat out amazing.

NHL.Rangers.com

Matter of fact, when it comes to shots per game, Hank is facing about 30 while Alex is at 31 and Igor is almost at 35. There’s no shame in this either. At 38, Lundqvist has had an amazing career but struggles to shake off the rust between appearances. It is for that reason above all else, Quinn needs to have his top 2 goalies available in every contest for the rest of this playoff run.

Why he shouldn’t be scratched

There is no doubt that Lundqvist is still the default leader of this team. He has been throughout this very difficult point in his career a pro, but more importantly a great teammate. We have seen him show Shesterkin the ropes the first time he had to pass the Broadway Hat to the next player. And last night, we saw him shower Mika Zibanejad with a bottle of water after his 5 goal excursion. That’s the main reason not to scratch him at this time. Lundqvist still leads and has a commanding presence in that locker room. Who knows, that could be invaluable for Shesterkin in between periods of a big game.

So what would you do? Vote below.

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