ST. PAUL, Minn. – There was no tracking, no talking to the trainer, no walking around an answer. Instead, David Quinn doubled his earlier statement that "keeping people focused is no longer a high priority," and clearly declared Igor Shesterkin the current goalkeeper # 1 of the Rangers' three-man Netzminder monster.
"At the moment this is the situation we are in [Shesterkin’s] Definitely play, ”said Quinn, before the team continued their road trip with a game here against the wild on Thursday evening.
Alex Georgiev was supposed to start this game just because Shesterkin had a minor ankle injury on Tuesday night's 4-1 win in Winnipeg, the 24-year-old's sixth win in his first seven NHL games. Quinn called Shesterkin "day after day" and did not exclude him for the second leg of this road, which took place in Columbus on Friday night in a game that the Rangers will certainly consider more important given their weak hopes of making the playoffs. The blueshirts also play a garden matinee against the Bruins power pack on Sunday.
This setup also meant that Henrik Lundqvist would step down again, as the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer had only started two games since Shesterkin was called up on January 5.
"I think if you have three goalkeepers and you were in the situation we were in, you are a bit sensitive to everyone," said Quinn. “You want to give everyone an opportunity and see how this thing develops. I thought everyone had an ample opportunity and everyone had the opportunity to present their case. I just felt that Igor had the greatest influence and was able to ride him for a while. "
Shesterkin lived up to all the hype surrounding him in Russia when he posted unfathomable numbers in the KHL – which, given the lack of competitive balance in this league led by cutthroat oligarchs, has to be taken up with a grain of salt , But this year he finally came to North America and started the season with AHL Hartford, where his dominance persisted despite the smaller skating rink and different style of play.
The Rangers couldn't keep him down there too long. After they returned from their New Year's trip to western Canada, he was called up and the difficult situation of having three goalkeepers on the team began. Quinn has made it clear that the situation is “not ideal,” but the club continues to trudge with no easy answer in sight.
General manager Jeff Gorton was believed to be buying Georgiev, a 24-year-old Bulgarian who hasn't proven to be the No. 1 goalkeeper in his first 68 games in the NHL, but has proven with certainty that he belongs and could one day hold this coat very well. But with Lundqvist, who has one year left for his contract and a $ 8.5 million wage cap hit, and with the clout he has in the locker room – not to mention the fact that he's always still plays at a very high level – it seemed like Georgiev was the expendable.
This may still be the case, but trading could be better for the summer as Georgiev will be a restricted free agent.
However, in a league where two goalkeepers, most of whom share the network, have become the norm, it is not out of the question that the Rangers will find an amicable solution to part with Lundqvist – either by asking him to his To waive the no-trade clause, or to buy the last year of his deal, which would create undesirable space for the next two seasons. Even with his 38th birthday on March 2nd, Lundqvist is still a good goalkeeper and extremely valuable for the Rangers.
Georgiev also, which is why the club is in this position.
"We have confidence in all three of our goalkeepers," said Quinn.
However, there is no longer a question of who is at the top of the pecking order – now and in the foreseeable future.