Welcome to the three-headed goalie monster known as the New York Rangers. The team has recalled top prospect Igor Shesterkin from the minor leagues, giving them three top netminders on the roster. Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev remain, and Larry Brooks of the New York Post confirms that the recall has nothing to do with any health issues.
It is important to note that Shesterkin, who signed his entry-level contract in the summer, had a European Assignment Clause and could have exercised it to return to the KHL. Given that he is seen as the future in goal for the Rangers, they obviously didn’t want that to happen, though it is not actually clear if he had threatened to use it at this time. Instead, this may simply be a situation that New York’s front office was always planning for. Lundqvist is getting closer to the end of his career, and though Georgiev has been excellent this season the team still needs to find out just how good Shesterkin can be at the NHL level.
All indicators at this time point towards his skill translating quite well. The 6’2″ netminder was a fourth-round pick in 2014 but quickly became one of the top goaltending prospects in the world. In his final three seasons in the KHL with St. Petersburg, Shesterkin recorded .937, .933 and .953 save percentages. Any doubt that he could perform like that in North America has been put to bed with a .932 save percentage through 23 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Now that Shesterkin is up in the NHL, trade rumors will begin again surrounding Georgiev, who is actually a few months younger. The undrafted goaltender has been excellent in his NHL appearances so far, posting a .913 save percentage over 63 appearances through three seasons. While his upside may not be quite as high, there are plenty of teams who could use a talented young goaltender to either serve as a backup or tandem starter. Georgiev is also a restricted free agent after this season, meaning he’ll be looking for a raise of his own. Lundqvist still has one more season on his deal at $8.5MM.