David Quinn appropriately put an end to the New York Rangers three-goalie rotation which means Igor Shesterkin takes center stage.
Following another 40-plus save performance by rookie phenom Igor Shesterkin on Sunday night, New York Rangers head coach David Quinn made an announcement that shook the foundation of Madison Square Garden.
“The best guy is going to continue to play,” Quinn proclaimed. “Keeping people sharp is no longer a high priority of ours. It’s going to be winning hockey games, and the guy who plays well is going to keep playing”, as was reported by Vince A. Mercogliano.
The Rangers have been drowning in a three-goalie rotation since Shesterkin was called up in late December.
He currently has compiled a 5-1 record after Sunday night’s win, which was the second time in his six games played that he registered a victory while making more than 40 saves (he made 46 on Jan. 9).
Per NHL Stats and Information, Shesterkin is the first Rangers goalie to have multiple 40-save games within his first six career NHL games. He is also the only goalie in franchise history to have two 40-save wins through his first six career NHL games.
He joins Ken Dryden, Roberto Luongo and James Reimer as the only goalies to achieve this feat.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 10, 2020
The announcement is not good news for everyone involved. Alexander Georgiev has already stated how hard is to be in the middle of a three-goalie situation and will most certainly see less ice time.
Georgiev finds himself between a rock and a hard place. The netminder is 12-11-1 with two shutouts this season. He has appeared in just five games since Jan. 13 and cannot be sent down to the AHL without first clearing waivers (which is certain to never happen).
His name has surfaced in multiple trade rumors over the course of this season, and with this announcement, you can be sure the rumors will pick up steam as contending teams look to improve with the trade deadline three weeks away.
The Torch Has Been Passed
This decision essentially ends the era of Henrik Lundqvist. The writing had been on the wall for some time and it’s now become the reality he must face as his tenure in New York concludes.
Henrik has been the only goalie to dress for every game during the three-goalie rotation, but now his place as the new backup goalie is confirmed.
The announcement does allow the King to think long and hard if he wants to continue to be a backup/mentor or possibly waive his no-trade clause and head to a team in more position to win the elusive Stanley Cup.
Quinn’s decision to go for wins now displays the club’s desire to make a playoff run with a goaltender full of confidence and a team that plays better when he stands between the pipes.
Players such as Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome and Anthony DeAngelo are also impacted by this announcement.
The Rangers now may see Kreider as a player they can no longer afford to lose. A meeting between Jeff Gorton and Kreider’s agent is expected to take place sometime this week.
The Rangers are currently nine points out of the second wild-card position with 28 games left in the season. The “hot’ goalie will change how the team approaches the final stage of the season.
The team practiced at their Tarrytown, NY facility prior to leaving for a three-game road trip that begins in Winnipeg Tuesday night. Remaining diligent to his comments on Sunday, Quinn announced that Shesterkin would get the start against the Jets.
— Brian Heyman (@bheyman99) February 10, 2020
This will be Shesterkin’s first time starting away from Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers now need to focus on putting wins together create a winning streak that can move them up in the standings. the Blueshirts have not had a winning streak longer than three games all season.
Winning can change the attitude and outlook of a season. For this Rangers team, it has changed the face of the franchise with Shesterkin now the man to lead the team out of the locker room on most nights.