It's Igor Time on Broadway
By Patrick Hoffman
The New York Rangers have been one of the luckiest franchises since the 2005-06 season.
In that time, the Rangers' goaltending position has been Henrik Lundqvist's. Lundqvist is now one of the greatest goaltenders of all time and despite not having a Cup to his name, he should end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame when all is said and done.
The main question, however, has always been what are the Blueshirts going to do when the "King" retires? Lundqvist is not getting any younger and appears to be well through the back nine of his career, which is unfortunate for both the fans and the franchise as a whole.
With that said, I believe the Rangers are going to be fine when it comes to their netminding. In fact, I might even go as far to say that the franchise might end up having the second coming of Lundqvist between the pipes for years to come.
His name is Igor Shestyorkin. It was reported yesterday by hockey/Rangers' scribe Larry Brooks of The New York Post that the the team reached an agreement in principle to bring both Shestyorkin and Vitali Kravtsov over to North America.
We know that Kravtsov is going to be a dynamic forward for the Rangers' franchise. He signed a three-year entry level contract and like Shestyorkin, is expected to be in the team's prospect camp.
Back to Igor. The 23-year-old Russian masked man, who signed a two-year entry level contract because of his age, absolutely dominated in the Kontinental Hockey League and has everyone wondering when we can expect to see him on Broadway as it is expected that he will compete with Alexandar Georgiev to be Lundqvist's back-up next season.
This past season in the KHL, Shestyorkin went 24-4 with a 1.11 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage. He also had the league's best goals-against average and save percentage, which is not surprising considering those numbers.
Shestyorkin has been one of the KHL's top netminders over the last several seasons. For his KHL career, he has a record of 80-19-15 with a 1.68 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage, and 27 shutouts. Yes, those are his real statistics in the KHL.
Clearly, Shestyorkin has awesome numbers and to go along with that, he has a lot to offer when in between the pipes. He's quick, is great at moving side to side, can stop first, second and third chances, and is someone who seems to come up big when his team needs it the most.
As mentioned above, Shestyorkin will be competing with Georgiev to be the team's backup goaltender. With that said, in his article, Brooks mentioned that if he were to be assigned to the team's AHL team in Hartford Wolf Pack, he could go back to the KHL because of something in his contract.
Brooks also mentioned the following.
"Management apparently is confident, however, that would not be the 2014 fourth-rounder’s intention if he needs time in the AHL to adapt to the North American game."
Whenever he does end up on Broadway, one has to imagine that he will be the club's main man between the pipers when Lundqvist decides to hang up the pads. The time is coming for the winds to change in the Rangers' crease.
With Georgiev having shown what he can do between the pipes and with Shestyorkin getting set to come over, the goaltending position will be more than fine for the Rangers when the lights go out on Lundqvist's career.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.