Wednesday: The team has officially announced the contract.
Monday: The New York Rangers have made an interesting off-season move, signing Russian goaltender Alexander Georgiev to an entry-level contract. The 21-year-old keeper, who went undrafted in 2014 and 2015, was a free agent playing in the Finnish Liiga. CapFriendly reports that he’ll now head across the Atlantic to join the Rangers organization on a three-year deal worth $792.5K at the NHL level.
Although undrafted, Georgiev has begun to make a name for himself on the international stage in recent years. Unlike most promising Russian prospects, Georgiev left the country to join TPS in Finland for the 2014-15 season. His performance as the backup for the team – a 2.21 GAA in 14 games in 2014-15 and a 2.28 GAA in 10 games in 2015-16 – caught the eye of the Russian World Junior team. Not only did Georgiev make the team, he started five games at the 2016 tournament. He then took over as the starter for TPS this past season, posting a stellar 1.70 GAA and .923 save percentage in 27 games as just a 21-year-old in a men’s league. The young goalie has plenty of upside to go along with many questions about his game as well.
Yet, his current resume seems to have been enough for the Rangers to give him a shot in the AHL. With Henrik Lundqvist and the newly signed Ondrej Pavelec as a solid one-two punch at the NHL level, Georgiev will certainly head for the minors, where he can compete for starts on the Hartford Wolf Pack. After losing Magnus Hellberg to the KHL and choosing not to re-sign Mackenzie Skapski, there’s definitely room for someone to take control in Hartford. Georgiev will battle incumbent Brandon Halverson, a 2014 second-round pick who struggled in his first pro season, and Bowling Green University’s Chris Nell, who also struggled in his brief AHL showing at the end of last season. Georgiev may just end up as the AHL starter, and candidate to see NHL time, when all is said and done.