Igor Shesterkin is set to start tomorrow night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Normally there would be no reason to raise an eyebrow but we are no longer in normal times. You see, the Rangers have another goalie in their 3 man rotation by the name of Alexandar Georgiev. He has great numbers against the Leafs and hasn’t started a game since the January 21st loss to the Islanders. That’s a long stretch without playing, even in the current goalie situation.
Georgiev the Leaf Killer?
Actually Georgiev earned his reputation as a Leaf killer last season going 2-1 with a 2.01 GAA and .956 SV%. This season he is only 1-1 with a bloated 4.96 GAA and paltry .886 SV%, but his overall numbers this season are rock solid and at 24 years of age has a high ceiling to improve.
So why aren’t the Rangers going with Georgiev against Toronto? Or better yet, why hasn’t he started a single game since 1/21? Including tomorrow that’s 4 games he couldn’t get a single start in. Is there more than meets the eye going on here? For that we should look at what’s happening in Toronto.
Leafs In Trouble
Frederik Andersen left yesterday’s game with an a head injury and the Leafs have called up Kasimir Kaskisuo just in case. Michael Hutchinson is scheduled to start against the Rangers and has been abysmal with 4-8-1 record, a GAA ballooning at 3.62, and a terrible SV% of .886. Not exactly the best direction to go when you are teetering for a playoff spot one point out of the wildcard.
So are the Leafs going to address their glaring need in net or is Kyle Dubas going to play it safe and maybe miss the playoffs. They also have a need for defense but the market for blue-liners at the deadline will be tough. That’s why going back to the Rangers for Georgiev makes sense and the Rangers still want to add a Finnish player to this roster to ease Kaapo Kakko’s transition to the NHL.
A Rangers Leafs trade makes sense
The Rangers are deep with regards to goaltending and prospects on defense. While Toronto is looking for help on the right side of defense, Jeff Gorton could possibly send Libor Hajek along with Georgiev in a blockbuster deal. Kyle Dubas will then have a young cost controlled blue-liner who could help now and a goaltender that could take over as the #1 in the near future.
Of course, Kasperi Kapanen who is an ideal 3rd line RW with potential to play 2nd line minutes won’t be enough to get it done. So Kyle Dubas is going to have to up the offer and possibly include a future first round pick or another top prospect.
Finally the question we await to be answered, will Georgiev be in net against the Rangers tomorrow night? If not, will he be leaving with the Maple Leafs when they exit the stage on Broadway? The question may soon be answered.