New York Rangers playoff hopes ride on goaltending
Next season, if there is one, will be a consolidated schedule. Word has it that the NHL is proposing a 60 game slate to be completed within 4 – 4.5 months. That means the New York Rangers would be playing a game around every 2.25 days.
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.
New York Rangers goaltending key for next season
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 next season as the schedule will call for games almost every other night with plenty of back-to-backs.
Another reason to play both 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.
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.
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.