Rangers Roundup: Ready to take on the Islanders; Shesterkin eyeing playoffs; Trouba on captain; and a ref as face-off coach

Igor Shesterkin Rangers
Apr 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Jacob Trouba #8 and Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers defend against Andreas Johnsson #11 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been quite a while, but the New York Rangers will be playing a hockey game tonight. It may only be an exhibition contest against the Islanders, yet it represents another concrete step to a new season.

Yesterday, the Rangers held another day of practices and scrimmages. Which was highlighted with Ryan Reaves taking Vitali Kravtsov aside and giving him some of the finer points of fighting. It’s those little moments during training camp that highlights the importance of this time.

Some roster news before the sessions began were both Austin Rueschhoff (LBI) and Evan Vierling (UBI) remain sidelined. Also, roster trimming has begun with 2021 draft pick, Jayden Grubbe being sent back to the WHL.

Igor Shesterkin wants to play playoff games

The New York Rangers inked starting goalie Igor Shesterkin to a new 4 year extension. According to Larry Brooks, this new deal is the largest for a goalie’s second contract in NHL history. Coming in at $5,666,666, it surpasses Sergei Brobrovsky’s $5.625 million deal back in 2013.

Shesterkin spoke briefly with the press yesterday. What should be noted is that he did most of the interview in English, and only used his interpreter for some of the harder questions. Last season, interviews were almost exclusively done in Russian, so the Czar really did some homework this offseason. Quite commendable.

Igor told the media he was very happy to get his contract done because he just wants to “play hockey.” When asked about his goals for this season, he was quick to answer, “I want to play in playoff games.”

igor shesterkin rangers
Apr 20, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) reacts during the third period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As far as workload, he’s ready for whatever the Rangers want to heap on his 25 year-old back. “How ever many games they give me, I’ll be ready to play them,” he said.

Shesterkin also did not say much about his close friend, Pavel Buchnevich’s trade to the Blues. “It’s a business.”

Last season, he posted a 16-14-3 record with two shutouts, a 2.62 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 35 games last season. Shesty as his teammates call him, owns a 26-16-3 record with two shutouts, a 2.59 GAA and .921 save percentage in 47 career games all with the Rangers.

Jacob Trouba talks captaincy

Aside from Chris Kreider, both Mika Zibanejad and Jacob Trouba are under consideration fro the captaincy. When asked about it yesterday, Trouba said “it would be an honor.”

The Rangers veteran defenseman is only 27, but he’s played 8 NHL seasons and is someone players look up to on the team. He expanded on his leadership role and what the current group is trying to do.

“I think I’ve grown in that aspect. There’s been so much change even from when I came in to now Hank (Lundqvist) being gone, and Marc (Staal) being gone.” Trouba began. “It’s not something you can easily turn the page from.”

“We’re not starting from scratch, but we’re trying to build our team, our culture, what our team does – our identity. That’s a part of it,” he said. “I think we have more than one leader, and it takes more than one leader to lead a team. It’s not just one guy out there hootin’ and hollerin’… just one guy talking doesn’t do much from a leadership standpoint. It takes all 23 guys to build a winning attitude.”

Rangers ready for Islanders; and a linesman to help with draws

The puck will drop tonight at MSG around 7PM, as the Rangers will take on the Islanders to kick-off exhibition action.

Regarding the lineup, Gallant said it will be a mixture of all the groups but he wasn’t sure who exactly would be playing. That will all be sorted out today, but I believe several young players will be rewarded for their play at Development Camp.

My expectations are that some or all of Will Cuylle, Morgan Barron, Lauri Pajuniemi, Nils Lundkvist, Zac Jones, and Braden Schneider are good bets for tonight. I would also expect to see some sheriffs out there in either Ryan Reaves and/or Jarred Tinordi as well.

One of the more interesting notes to come out of camp is retired linesman Pierre Racicot being brought in to help with face-offs.

“We think it’s going to be very helpful,” Gallant said. “I know Pierre, he’s a real good guy.”

The Rangers were dead last in draws last season and it’s been a thorn in the side of the team for years.

Tom Wilson said what?

Tom Wilson was pretty candid recently about the whole melee at the Garden last season. He had some thoughts directed at the Rangers for what happened. Read more.