The New York Rangers have moved starting goaltender Igor Shesterkin to injured reserve with a lower-body injury, but it appears as though he may have avoided a long-term absence. Head coach Gerard Gallant explained that the team is confident that Shesterkin will be back in a week, missing only the team’s next three games. An IR stint means he will be off the roster for a minimum of seven days.
The team has recalled Adam Huska in the meantime, as veteran Keith Kinkaid is believed to be in quarantine due to a COVID outbreak with the Hartford Wolf Pack, according to Arthur Staple of The Athletic. Huska was basically the only option, given 23-year-old Tyler Wall is the only other goaltender signed to an NHL contract in the organization. Wall has 19 games of professional experience, eight of them coming at the ECHL level this season.
Huska isn’t much further along in his career, but with Shesterkin only expected to miss a few games the 24-year-old likely isn’t going to make an appearance anyway. The team will lean on Alexander Georgiev for the time being, as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks (tonight and Tuesday) and Colorado Avalanche (Wednesday). Shesterkin could be activated in time for next Friday’s match, though obviously, the medical staff will have to see how he responds during his week off.
The Rangers have taken a huge step forward this season and much of that is thanks to the outstanding play of Shesterkin, who currently leads the NHL in wins with 13. The 25-year-old netminder has posted a .937 save percentage through 18 appearances and is very much in the mix (or perhaps leading) for the Vezina Trophy. Gallant points out that “rest won’t hurt” the young goaltender, and news of his return in just a week will allow Rangers fans to breathe a huge sigh of relief after what looked like a potentially serious injury last night.