New York Rangers top goalie tandems ranked after Jonathan Quick contract extension

NHL: New York Rangers at Dallas Stars
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Among the many things that set the New York Rangers apart from most of the NHL this season is their outstanding goalie tandem of Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick.

In fact, it can be argued that this combo is among the best in franchise history. Realizing what a good thing they have, the Rangers signed Quick to a one-year contract extension recently, making sure to keep their goalies together next season.

As good as they’ve been, though, just how do Shesterkin and Quick stack up against the best goalie tandems in franchise history?

We’ll examine where they rank, keeping in mind goalie tandems really weren’t a thing for the first 40 years of their history. In 1939-40 when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, for example, Dave Kerr played every minute in all 48 games. Gump Worsley and Marcel Paille split the 70 starts almost down the middle in 1957-58, but that was an anomaly.

Related: Rangers icon Mark Messier ‘all in’ on Matt Rempe

New York Rangers all-time top 5 goalie tandems

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY SportsCredit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

5. Mike Richter and Glenn Healy

Richter and Healy could land on this list for the mere fact that they were the goalie tandem when the Rangers ended a 54-year drought and won the Stanley Cup in 1994. Richter won 42 games that season and Healy added 10 wins, after leading the Islanders on an improbable run to the Eastern Conference Final in 1993.

The two remained partners for three more seasons after the Cup win and Healy actually put up better numbers in the post Cup years than in 1993-94. Healy played more games (44-41) than Richter in 1995-96 because of Richter’s injury, though No. 35 still posted more wins.

In their final season as a tandem, Richter and Healy helped lead the Rangers to the 1997 Eastern Conference Final, before losing to the New Jersey Devils.

4. Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick

It’s been less than one season, but Shesterkin and Quick have formed an outstanding partnership in 2023-24. When Shesterkin missed some time early in the season, Quick stepped up and kept the train rolling along with a 9-0-1 start to his Rangers career. And when Shesterkin needed some time to work on his game before and after the All-Star break, Quick was there again to pick up important wins and get a 10-game winning streak started.

On any given night, coach Peter Laviolette gets to choose between a Vezina Trophy winner in Shesterkin and a three-time Stanley Cup champion in Quick. Not many coaches have such a quality option.

Shesterkin and Quick will get to run it back together next season now that Quick agreed to a one-year contract extension.

3. Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot

During 15 seasons on Broadway, Lundqvist had a string of excellent goalie partners. They ranged from Kevin Weekes and Steve Valiquette early in his career to Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin later on, with Marty Biron and Antti Raanta mixed in, as well.

Lundqvist played 70 or more games four times and typically was over 60 starts a season in his heyday. That said, Biron and Raanta, in particular, stood out with their terrific play in limited duty.

But The King formed his best partnership with Talbot in 2013-14 and 2014-15. That first season, Talbot was more than a capable backup as a rookie, winning 12 games, with a terrific 1.64 goals-against average and insane .941 save percentage. Lundqvist ultimately led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final that season, where they lost in five games to Quick and the Los Angeles Kings.

The following season, Talbot played 36 games after Lundqvist sustained the first serious injury of his career. Talbot won 21 games, Lundqvist 30 and the Rangers captured the Presidents’ Trophy before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

2. John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter

Two of the most accomplished goalies in franchise history teamed up for four seasons, beginning with the 1989-90 season. Vanbiesbrouck was an established star and Vezina Trophy winner by the time Richter arrived, and the pair formed the backbone for several very good Rangers teams.

Vanbiesbrouck and Richter helped lead the Rangers to a first-place finish in the Patrick Division their first season together and a second-place finish in 1990-91. Vanbiesboruck took the lead in 1989-90 and Richter made a handful more starts the following season. “Beezer” and Richter even teamed up for the United States at the 1991 Canada Cup.

In 1991-92, coach Roger Neilson alternated his goalies throughout the regular season – each started 41 games – and the plan paid huge dividends. The Rangers won 50 games (Vanibesrouck 27 wins, Richter 23) and the Presidents’ Trophy before being stunned by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. 

Following a team-wide collapse in 1992-93, Vanbiesbrouck was claimed in the expansion draft by the Florida Panthers and Richter led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup championship in 1994.

1. Ed Giacomin and Gilles Villemure

The standard by which all Rangers goalie tandems strive to match. Giacomin, a Hall-of-Fame goalie whose No. 1 is retired by the Rangers, and Villemure were each stars at the position, capable of handling the workload on their own. But coach/GM Emile Francis rightly saw the Rangers were better utilizing each instead of leaning on only one.

From the 1970-71 season, when they shared the Vezina Trophy, through 1974-75, Giacomin and Villemure provided the Rangers with a one-two combo in net unmatched in the League. Each goalie played in three NHL All-Star games during their tenure together, including twice (1971 and 1973) in the same season.

Giacomin played roughly 10 more games per season than Villemure, except in their final one together when Villemure started 45. The Rangers made the playoffs in each of the pair’s five seasons together, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 1972 and the playoff semifinals three times.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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