Igor Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin called up from Hartford

Igor Shesterkin has been called up from Hartford.

From the Rangers Prospect Report earlier this week:

  • Igor Shesterkin earned a win in each of Hartford’s two games during the past week (Jan. 24 vs. Bridgeport and Jan. 25 vs. Lehigh Valley), and he posted a 1.50 GAA and a .952 SV% (59 saves on 62 shots) in the two contests.
  • The Rangers’ fourth round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has earned a win in each of his last six AHL appearances, posting a 1.17 GAA, a .959 SV% (165 saves on 172 shots), and 1 SO over the span, and he has allowed two goals or fewer in each of the six appearances.
  • Shesterkin has posted a 17-4-3 record, along with a 1.90 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 3 SO in 25 AHL appearances with the Wolf Pack this season. He leads the AHL in GAA and SV%, and ranks second in the AHL in wins in 2019-20 (he has earned one fewer win the AHL’s leader in wins this season while appearing in 10 fewer games).

So far this season with the Rangers, Shesterkin is 2-1 with a 2.68 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

Igor Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin sent to Hartford

1/22/20 | Shesterkin will not take part in the AHL All-Star Game. (AHL)

1/21/20 | Igor Shesterkin has been sent to Hartford while the Rangers are on their All-Star break and bye week.

The Wolf Pack have games this Friday and Saturday and the AHL All-Star weekend is this Sunday and Monday.

Shesterkin was named to the AHL All-Star Game earlier this month.

From the Rangers release, “Shesterkin appeared in three games with the Rangers after being recalled on Jan. 6, posting a 2-1-0 record, along with a 2.68 GAA and a .929 SV%. He earned a win in each of his first two NHL appearances, becoming the seventh goaltender in Rangers history to do so. He has appeared in 23 AHL games with the Wolf Pack this season and has posted a 15-4-3 record, along with a 1.93 GAA, a .932 SV%, and 3 SO. At the time he was recalled by the Rangers, Shesterkin led the AHL in GAA, ranked second in wins and SV%, and was tied for third in shutouts in 2019-20.”

Phil Di Giuseppe has also been sent back to Hartford.

Igor Shesterkin Rangers

Igor Shesterkin starting against Columbus

6:13PM: David Quinn spoke after practice and said (NYR):

  • On tomorrow, “in a lot of ways it’s bigger than anything we have done up to this point. This game is as big, if not bigger, because of how deep we are into the season. This team is six points ahead of us, we have two games in hand, it’s a four-point game. There are a lot of teams in this league right now that are playing playoff hockey, based on the standings and the schedule, and we are one of them.”
  • Why Igor, “he’s played well since he’s been here and we have a lot of faith and confidence in him.”
  • On Lemieux, “we will see how it goes.”
  • Is Panarin okay, “just a little upper body thing, he’ll play tomorrow.”
  • On Henrik Lundqvist’s situation, “they are not easy discussions but Hank and I have also had good conversations about the situation we are in. It’s players adapting in their careers as they evolve and he is in a situation where he isn’t playing the same as he has in the past, it doesn’t mean he isn’t still a really good goalie and we have faith in him. Our organization feels that we are going to have three goalies here as of right now and just the way it’s evolved, this is the situation we are in. As he and I have talked about, when he gets in there and plays to his ability he is going to play.”
  • On having a goalie not sit that long, “that is the balancing act of not letting a guy sit too long, but also, someone who is in there and playing really well, you gotta win hockey games. We aren’t running a house league team where everybody gets a shift and start, that being said, we feel really good about all three goalies and you don’t want someone sitting for an extended period of time but also not at the expense of someone who is really hot and playing well and providing confidence and a wave he is giving the team.”

12:59PM: Igor Shesterkin will make his third NHL start on Sunday at MSG against Columbus. (NYR)

Shesterkin has been a scratch the prior three games when Henrik Lundqvist (against St. Louis) and Alex Georgiev (Isles) started.

2019-20 Rangers Igor Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin to start against the Devils

4:36PM: David Quinn spoke after the morning skate and said (NYR):

  • Do you need a bigger read Igor, “I think it’s important for everybody and he played well, he deserves another opportunity. That definitely weighs into it but if he didn’t play well, I wouldn’t be putting him in there to get more of an evaluation on him.”
  • On how Georgiev is handling this, “we talked a little the other day. These guys understand that we have goalies we believe in and it’s a different situation and new to all of us and we are all learning on the fly how to handle it. He will be ready when his number is called, it’s how he’s always approached it.”
  • On the plan for Libor Hajek, “he skated more today, we will probably talk after the game tonight to figure out the next step.”

11:35AM: Igor Shesterkin is slated to make his second straight start when the Rangers host the Devils tonight. (Cyrgalis)

Henrik Lundqvist will be the back up.(Cyrgalis)

Igor Shesterkin New York Rangers Top Propsects Nils Lundkvist

Igor Shesterkin ranked as the top NHL prospect by TSN

TSN‘s Craig Button lists Igor Shesterkin at #1 on his list of top-50 NHL affiliated prospects.

Shesterkin ranked 10th in his rankings last year and Button says he has “all the tools necessary – skill, poise, sense and technical ability – to be a success at the NHL level and is the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist on Broadway.” (TSN)

Other Ranger prospects ranked by Button include:

  • 22: Nils Lundkvist
  • 36: Vitali Kravtsov (Ranked 1st last year)
  • 43: K’Andre Miller

On Shesterkin, Button added, “when you look at his resume, all he has done in the course of his career is have success, unbelievable success. When you want to look at goaltending leaders wherever he has played he is at the top of the list or near the top of the list. When you think about his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Avalanche, a little bit of a shaky start but then he settles right in. When you consider that he has mind, skill, poise and technical abilities, you are looking at the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist, who has been one of the greatest goalies of the history of the NHL. Pretty big shoes, skates and pads to fill but for Shesterkin you are looking at a top-end goaltender and the Rangers have a replacement for Henrik Lundqvist.”

Corey Pronman of The Athletic listed Lundkvist as one of his standouts from the World Juniors, saying that he may not be “the biggest, quickest or most skilled defenseman you’ll ever see, but he’s so smart and that makes him project as a top-four defenseman in the NHL.”

Alex Georgiev Alex Georgiev Trade Rumors Hartford Wolf Pack Igor Shesterkin

What happens now that Igor Shesterkin has been called up

1/8 | Craig Custance writes that the Rangers asking price for Georgiev is not believed to be cheap. (The Athletic)

1/7 | Igor Shesterkin will make his NHL debut tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Rangers are currently carrying three goaltenders, Shesterkin, Henrik Lundqvist and Alexander Georgiev.

Shesterkin, 24 last week, is in the first-year of a two-year entry level deal and his contract includes an ability to leave the Rangers and return to Europe.

Lundqvist, 38 in March, has the remainder of this season and next season with a cap hit of $8.5 million and a full no-move clause in his contract.

Georgiev, 24 in February, is in the final-year of his entry-level contract and is slated to be an RFA at the end of this season. Georgiev also now must pass through waivers to be sent to the AHL.

On the season:

  • Shesterkin in the AHL: 15-4-3, 1.93 GAA, .932 save percentage, 3 shutouts in 23 games
  • Lundqvist: 9-9-1, .909 save percentage, 3.17 GAA, 0 shutouts in 24 games (22 starts)
  • Georgiev: 10-9-1, .910 save percentage, 3.10 GAA, 2 shutouts in 20 games (19 starts)

Adam Rotter: Including tonight, the Rangers have seven games before the All-Star break and bye week and my guess is that Shesterkin will get three games, Lundqvist two and Georgiev two. If Shesterkin steps in and carries his AHL/KHL performance and numbers to the NHL then he will remain with the Rangers and ultimately team with Henrik Lundqvist. That scenario leaves Alex Georgiev as the odd-man-out and make it extremely likely that he gets traded by the deadline. Goalies don’t often move at the deadline but Georgiev is cheap ($792,500) and would draw interest from any number of teams that have starter who are struggling or need a back up.

If Shesterkin struggles or needs some more time in the AHL then it’s easy for the Rangers, he goes back to Hartford and they punt the goalie decision to the offseason. The belief from almost everyone around the league is that the Rangers intend for Shesterkin to follow Henrik Lundqvist and that Georgiev will ultimately be moved. The Rangers have seen a lot from Georgiev and on the whole he has impressed and made this a tougher decision than they probably ever anticipated.

Why was this decision to bring up Shesterkin made now? That is hard to say but it’s probably a combination of his performance in the AHL, maybe a promise made that Shesterkin would be in the NHL by a certain point, to avoid him returning to Europe, and a chance to gauge his readiness for the NHL as teams begin calling about Georgiev’s availability. Should the Rangers have made this move a few weeks ago when they could have still had the flexibility to send Georgiev to Hartford? Maybe, but sending him to Hartford at any point would have likely decreased his value. It’s a tricky situation because having three goalies around long-term just doesn’t work. You dress two goalies per game and there are only two nets at practice. Unless injuries strike the only way this gets resolved is by Shesterkin going back to Hartford, unlikely unless he struggles, or Georgiev is traded. I’d expect that the Rangers will return from the All-Star break with a plan of action and it’s hard to think that the plan will include keeping three goalies around.