The Rangers have reportedly agreed in principle with goalie prospect Igor Shesterkin on his two-year entry level contract. (NY Post)
Shesterkin will have a clause in his contract that would allow him to return to Russia if he is assigned to Hartford though Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers do not believe that would be the case. (NY Post)
Following the playoff exit of SKA, Shesterkin said that if sent to Hartford he would go to Hartford but added that he wasn’t ready to talk about the Rangers. (Sport-Express)
He added that he has no right to demand to play int he NHL right away. (Sport-Express)
Shesterkin’s career numbers in the KHL are 80-19-15 in 117 appearances with a 1.68 GAA and .935 save percentage.
He has played in 16 career KHL playoff games, going 8-6 with a 1.92 GAA and .919 save percentage.
In the past three regular seasons Shesterkin has played in:
- 16-17: 39 games – 27-4-6, 1.64 GAA, .937 save percentage
- 17-18: 28 games – 20-4-4, 1.70 GAA, .933 save percentage
- 18-19: 28 games – 24-4-0, 1.11 GAA, .953 save
From the Rangers Prospect Reports:
- 11/24/14: “He was very solid in net and stood out for the Russian team. He moves well in his crease and has a very quick glove hand.” – Rangers Amateur Scout Daniel Dore on Igor Shesterkin
- 12/29/14: “He’s calm and confident in goal, and he does an excellent job at tracking the puck. He has the potential to be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.” – Rangers Amateur Scout Rich Brown on Igor Shesterkin
- 1/6/15: “Not too many 18-year-old kids make the World Junior (Championship) the first year after they are drafted. For Brandon, with this experience, he’s going to be better. For a first year kid to nab that second role, we’re really proud of that. With Igor, when our North American scouts set their eyes on him for the first time, they said he’s one cool goaltender. He doesn’t let anything bother him.” – Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark on Brandon Halverson and Igor Shesterkin
- 1/6/15: “He is just a great goalie, he saved us. He’s a great guy and a big part of our team.” – Team Russia forward Sergei Tolchinsky on Igor Shesterkin
- 3/30/15: “He plays with terrific confidence in net. He is sound in the crease and doesn’t allow many rebounds.” – Rangers European Scout Vladimir Lutchenko on Igor Shesterkin
- 10/10/16: “His best attributes are his ability to read the play, stay composed, and control rebounds. A very technically sound goalie, he is mature beyond his years and is a proven big-game player.” – Nickolai Bobrov, Rangers Director of European Scouting, on Igor Shesterkin
- 2/20/17: “It’s not only the way he plays, it’s the way he carries himself that’s equally impressive and sets him apart. He’s special. He’s the closest thing that I’ve seen to Henrik (Lundqvist).” – Gordie Clark on Igor Shesterkin
- 4/16/18: “(Saturday’s) match was tougher for me, I hadn’t played for a long time. (Sunday), I had more confidence. There was a couple of dangerous moments in the match when the puck fell at the stick of the opponents, but the guys played with commitment and blocked pucks.” – Rangers prospect Igor Shesterkin after making 42 saves in two games and posting back-to-back shutouts against Norway in the Euro Hockey Challenge on Apr. 14 and Apr. 15
- 12/31/18: “He understands the amount of work it takes. He’s always been the hardest worker on every team he plays on. His coaches, from when he was 9, 10, 11 (years old), that’s always been the narrative with him — extremely competitive and extremely hard-working, to the point of he would cry if the team lost and he would blame himself when he was very little.” – Rangers Director of European Scouting Nickolai Bobrov on Igor Shesterkin
Jeff Gorton said of Shesterkin, at a Town Hall event before the season, “he’s really good. Very impressive, very quick, about Hank’s size. Successful wherever he has been. He signed a three-year deal early on in the KHL. This is the third-year and we will get him over here as soon as we can and get him acquainted to NY and speaking English and all of that. Very impressive prospect, really good goalie. Most people consider him the number one goalie outside the NHL but he’s a very capable guy. By all accounts he is going to be worth the wait.” (NYR)
Chris Peters ranked Shesterkin third in his list of top goalie prospects. (ESPN)
Shesterkin was ranked as the Rangers third best prospect and 37th overall by The Hockey News Future Watch issue with them writing, “the heir to Henrik Lundqvist, Shesterkin is finishing his third KHL season and has posted nice stats. Before 71,381 fans in St. Petersburg Dec.17, Shesterkin backstopped Russia’s national team to a 5-0 win over Finland, a deceptive socre because of his multiple “grade-A saves,” said director of European scouting Nikolai Bobrov. The athletic Shesterkin will report to his first NHL camp in September. The challenges: smaller ice surface, better competition, more shots.”
Gordie Clark told The Hockey News that you can never have enough goalies in the system.
Sport-Express notes that Shesterkin has usually shared playing time in the KHL and notes that many Russian goalies have played in the AHL before starting in the NHL.
Adam Rotter: Shesterkin has a ton of potential and by most accounts the hype around him is warranted. That said he should probably play all of next season in the AHL. A year in the AHL would allow him to adjust to the North American game and also give him a chance to play 40-50 games in a season. Shesterkin has more hype and is believed to have more upside than Alexander Georgiev but Georgiev has done nothing in his two years with the Rangers but exceed expectations. The Rangers are not going to guarantee anything for Shesterkin so if he wants to be in the NHL he will have to earn it. I’m guessing that they have made that clear to him and that he understands the different possibilities (being in the NHL, being in the AHL, being up and down) of where he could be next season. The AHL opt-out clause is to be expected but I’m guessing it won’t be utilized unless he finds himself riding the bench in Hartford more than being in the crease.