What does Alexandar Georgeiv’s future hold with the Rangers?
For all who don’t know who the Czar, or the future Prince of New York, is, then maybe you should find out.
I’ll save you some time and tell you. The young Russian goaltender out of SKA St. Petersburg who’s turning into a future All-Star is Igor Shestyorkin. The 23-year-old 6’1” goalie has only been improving with each season playing for SKA. In 23 games this season, Igor has posted a 1.22 GAA and a .947 SV%. Those numbers are BANANAS. I understand this is the KHL, but it’s still a men’s league with former and future NHL players. Analysts, scouts, and GMs all agree that if you play well in this setting, there is a good chance your play with transfer over to the NHL level, why do you think the Rangers picked Vitali Kravstov in the first round?
Now, what does this all mean? It means the Rangers will most likely bring Igor over from the KHL either at the end of this season or the start of the next, barring a contract dispute. If they do reach an agreement, which seems likely, the Russian will have to dethrone the true King of New York, Henrik Lundqvist. In order to do so, there might have to be some changes within the organization.
The Rangers current backup goaltender, Alexander Georgiev, is in imminent danger. Georgiev, feeling the negative effects of this Rangers rebuild, is currently riding a 3.43 GAA and a .895 SV%. A case can be made that the whole team is at fault for the poor play of the goaltenders, but a 6-8-0 record doesn’t lie. His most recent game saw him giving up seven goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but on 40 shots. Defense has been a huge problem for the Rangers and that should be considered while evaluating Georgiev’s performance, since the other goaltender for the Blueshirts has also had his fair share of struggles. Lundqvist has a 3.01 GAA with a .908 SV% this season in 34 games. Those stats aren’t too far off from Georgiev’s but, for some reason, Hank is the All-Star player. This isn’t an article about the King but, personally, I thought Kevin Hayes or Mika Zibanejad should have gotten the nod with their strong first-half performance. Henrik hasn’t been great this season and neither has Georgiev, but unfortunately for Georgiev, he doesn’t have a No Movement Clause (NMC) in his contract.
With aging players, they want as much protection as they can get as they get older. This isn’t uncommon and with Henrik turning 37 this March, his NMC is hurting this team. Last year around this time he was asked if he wanted to waive his NMC in order to go to a contending team and possibly fight for a real chance at the one achievement that has alluded him all these years. He decided against it, because this is his home, he has investments here and frankly he didn’t want to go. I admire that kind of dedication and loyalty, but he’s hurting the future goaltenders. I like Georgiev’s play and I wrote about him potentially being a solid backup, and even split time with Igor in the future. But with three more years on Hank’s contract, this doesn’t seem likely.
Georgiev’s contract is up after next season in 2020 and after that he will be an RFA. The choice really isn’t difficult here, especially if the Czar comes to claim the New York throne. Georgiev hasn’t been playing well enough to earn a new contract or extension. In the same year Georgiev is set to be an RFA, the contracts of Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, Vlad Namestnikov, Jimmy Vesey, and Ryan Strome are all up. This is all under the assumption that the Rangers keep these players in the following two seasons instead of selling them for picks and prospects. On the other hand, Georgiev playing poorly means arbitration is in the favor of the team and he might get a lackluster contract to return to the Blueshirts.
The most realistic scenario for the backup will be spending his time with the Wolf Pack next season if Igor comes in and steals his job out of training camp. Georgiev needs more playing time in the NHL to David Quinn that he is deserving of this job. But with Hank determined to show the world he’s still “got it,” that dream will not become a reality.
My prediction for the goaltending situation is as follows: Lundqvist will still be the starting goaltender next season, Shestyorkin will be the backup waiting to sink his teeth into any opportunity to prove he’s worthy of the crown, and Georgiev, the Duke of Hartford will be just that, in Hartford rotting away until the Rangers need him to replace an old and injured Lundqvist behind Czar Igor.