The New York Rangers have added a little more goaltending depth to the organization, agreeing to terms with Dustin Tokarski on a one-year contract. Rangers fans should be familiar with Tokarski’s work from the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, when he replaced Carey Price against New York. He’s now coming into one of the few organizations with an unsettled depth chart, and could potentially even push for an NHL backup job.
We recently listed the Rangers as one of the teams who could be interested in veteran goaltenders like Kari Lehtonen and Steve Mason, but this Tokarski signing likely puts an end to that speculation. Though he doesn’t have a ton of NHL experience—just 34 career regular season games—he’ll need a spot somewhere in the organization and with Marek Mazanec and Alexandar Georgiev already battling it out for the NHL backup and AHL starter roles, there isn’t much room to add anyone else. Those three should have a healthy competition for playing time, and should give rebuilding clubs at least competent netminding as they try to re-establish themselves.
Now 28 years old, Tokarski has a .904 career NHL save percentage and actually posted a .915 in 39 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season. New York’s AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack struggled to find any consistency in goal last season and it showed in their record, going 34-33-9. Tokarski will help solidify that position even if he doesn’t receive any NHL playing time.