Carrying three goaltenders is rarely ideal but over the past month, the Rangers have been making it work and it seems as if it will carry on for a while. Although Alexandar Georgiev has been in trade speculation for a while now, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that the process has reached the point where they have no desire to move him.
Part of that may be that one of their more ideal trade partners in Toronto turned around and made another move for a goalie this past week which takes them out of the equation. But at the same time, Georgiev is still quite young (he turns 24 on Monday) and with a career .913 save percentage (at a time where New York has largely been rebuilding), he’s certainly good enough to be part of their future plans alongside Igor Shesterkin who clearly isn’t going anywhere either.
Georgiev is a restricted free agent with salary arbitration rights this summer and even with his limited playing time as of late, he’ll still be in line for a considerable raise on his current cap hit which checks in at just under $800K. With Kevin Shattenkirk’s buyout cap charge increasing by $4.6MM for next season and players like Ryan Strome and Anthony DeAngelo also in line for raises, New York could be facing somewhat of a cap crunch for next season.
That takes us to veteran Henrik Lundqvist. He still has one year remaining on his deal after this one but as Brooks notes, a buyout could be a distinct possibility and would open up an extra $3MM in cap room for next summer. Accordingly, if the team was to communicate that this is the direction that they’re leaning, would he be open to a trade if a suitor could be found between now and the February 24th trade deadline? The 37-year-old has long stated his desire to only play for the Rangers and is believed to have turned down at least one opportunity to go elsewhere in the past. But if the writing is on the wall with the tandem of Shesterkin and Georgiev being the plan for both the long and short term, he may have to reconsider that if he wants to keep playing.
In the meantime, it certainly seems as if Georgiev, who many felt was going to be the odd man out, may be sticking around after all which would take one of the more intriguing trade chips off the market.
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