On March 16 I wrote an in-depth piece on Alexandar Georgiev. At the time he had appeared in six games, and he ended the season with a total of 10 appearances.
It was a very short sample, but an encouraging one at that. At the time I wrote:
Georgiev was a 21-year-old fresh off a season in which he played 27 games with TPS Turku of Liiga in Finland, where he went 13-8-4 with a 1.70 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. His overall line was 18-19-6 with a 1.93 GAA and .912 save percentage over parts of three seasons – in other words hardly a reliable sample.
He was an unknown then, and fair to say he’s still a bit of an unknown now. However it is better that he’s got some NHL games under his belt and he will head into the summer preparing and training with the NHL in mind. Last year it was all but assumed that Georgiev would compete for a spot in Hartford and if he faltered he’d end up in the ECHL.
Instead, Alexandar the Great played in Hartford. He began as their starter, and eventually lost the role to Marek Mazanec (who was signed to the Wolf Pack in December 2017) after having a sub-.900 save percentage. It’s worth noting though, that the organization’s goaltender development below the NHL level is questionable, so that may have contributed to the lack of stability between the pipes in Hartford. After Mazanec was injured, Georgiev regained the role of starter, and got better as the season went on; in calendar year 2018 he went 10-4-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in 16 games played. All together, he appeared in 37 games and posted a record of 14-13-7 with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
While with the Rangers, Georgiev went 4-4-1 with a 3.15 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage, but those numbers don’t tell the complete story.
In 5v5 situations he was slightly better than expected, although a disastrous game vs. the Washington Capitals seriously drove his total numbers down. In all situations, he outperformed his expected save percentage by .72, which in the grand scheme of things is minimal. However, being able to outperform expectations at all is still worth noting.
Here’s a look at Georgiev’s game by game performance.
Again, the numbers are favorable, especially a 3.31 5v5 GSAA and a 2.39 in all situations, and they’d be even better if you were to exclude the disaster of a Caps game. All goalies will go through games like that, but even with that game included he looks pretty good considering it’s his first NHL experience. All of this information is valuable to Benoit Allaire, management, and it will be to the future coaching staff. Although it was only 10 games of play, it is more than enough for Allaire to look at when trying to analyze his weaknesses to correct flaws in his technique.
Early on there were examples where Georgiev got caught cheating or was out of position, but as he saw more time on ice he looked more sound squaring his body to the shot and avoiding putting himself in a position where he had to overcompensate and make “athletic” saves.
He showed wonderful poise, and had some big moments including this penalty shot save on Evgeni Malkin.
He also had this partial breakaway stop on Eric Staal.
With all of that said, Georgiev exceed expectations by making it the to NHL as a 21-year-old goalie whose primary prior experience was 43 games over three seasons in Finland. What he did the rest of the way was just icing on the cake.