The New York Rangers have three goalies on the roster. Speculation is that they will trade Alexandar Georgiev at the deadline. Not so fast my friends. It may be better to wait.
The New York Rangers are carrying three goalies on their active roster. Something that is almost unheard of because there are only two goals on the ice. When a team is practicing two goalies get reps. The third guy just watches. The Blueshirts brain trust knew that when they brought up hot prospect Igor Shesterkin last month. With legend Henrik Lundqvist still effective and backup Alexandar Georgiev pushing The King for playing time, Shesterkin’s callup was somewhat surprising.
Georgiev is stuck in the middle of a living legend on one side and the next big thing on the other. It’s an unenviable position to be in. That’s why many believe he will be dealt by the February 24 NHL deadline. While New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton is and will be taking calls on the 24-year-old Bulgarian-born netminder, nothing is guaranteed.
While it’s not an ideal situation, carrying three goalies on the roster, Gorton doesn’t have to move Georgiev now. As a matter of fact, it may be more prudent to wait until the draft to make a trade. Of course, if he gets an overwhelming offer, by all means, Gorton should take it, but he is the one in the driver’s seat and does not have to sell.
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First of all, Lundqvist is going to determine what the Rangers do next. Does he want a shot at having his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, which won’t happen this year or probably next if he remains with the team? At age 37, does he want to retire? It’s not an easy job and the guy is a rock star (physically and literally), he can hang up his blocker pads and still make lots of money. Or does he want to stay with the Blueshirts and play out his contract through the 2020-21 season?
For his part, Georgiev is a restricted free agent at the conclusion of this season. He will be under team control (whatever team he’s on) for a few more.
The big unknown with Georgiev is how well he would do with a strong defense in front of him. His acrobatic and clutch saves prove he is a legitimate NHL goalie and can handle more than a part-time role. As it is, Georgiev has a poor 3.11 goals against average, but a good .910 save percentage, meaning he sees more than his share of rubber flying at him.
There are several top goaltenders in the upcoming free-agent class, so it might be better for Gorton to wait until the dust settles before pulling the trigger on a trade.