The New York Rangers have signed goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
Tokarski turns 29 in September, and last season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms he posted a 2.65 GAA and a .915 save percentage in 39 games. The year prior he was with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL and he appeared in 27 games sporting a 2.93 GAA and a .898 save percentage.
Per the team’s official release:
Tokarski has appeared in 315 career AHL games over parts of nine seasons (2009-10 – 2017-18), posting a 166-109-12 record, along with a 2.52 GAA, a .911 SV%, and 24 SO. He led the AHL in wins during the 2011-12 season (32), and he helped Norfolk win the Calder Cup as AHL Champions in 2011-12 by posting a 12-2 record, along with a 1.46 GAA, a .944 SV%, and 3 SO in 14 playoff appearances. He participated in the AHL All-Star Game during the 2013-14 season.
He last played in the NHL in 2016-17, although that was a relief appearance in which he faced five shots. Prior to that he appeared in six games with the Montreal Canadiens during the 2015-16 campaign posting a stat line featuring a 3.18 G.A.A. and a .878 save percentage.
Lifetime Tokarski is 10-12-5 with a 2.84 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
He is known best around these parts for being the goalie of record for the Habs during the Rangers victory in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, and this moment is something that has likely been seared into the memories of Blueshirts fans.
He is also known for his performance during the 2008 WJC tournament in which Pierre McGuire audibly blew a gasket on several occasions, with this being the most notable.
All of that said, why did the Rangers make this signing?
The Rangers have signed G Dustin Tokarski to a one year contract. He is signed to compete for the backup job with Alexandar Georgiev and Marek Mazanec.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) August 20, 2018
Competition is never a bad thing, and I don’t blame the Rangers for wanting to make Alexandar Georgiev earn the job. He was sensational in a short stretch for the Rangers after his promotion from Hartford, but it was a very small sample. It is also worth mentioning that he won the starting job in Hartford last year, but struggled and lost the job to Marek Mazanec.
Adding Tokarski adds another wrinkle to the mix, because the soon-to-be 29-year-old is fighting to hang on at the NHL level, and he will be extremely motivated to try and earn the backup job. It remains to be seen how many games David Quinn will allocate to Henrik Lundqvist this season, but having a competent backup is important. While the Rangers aren’t going to be very competitive, they don’t want to be in a position in which they are getting blown out 7-2 each and every night.
Losing games 4-2, 5-3 and so on will allow the kids to play and develop without having their spirits broken. That means the team will need a goaltender who is able to log a significant amount of games, because there is no sense in trotting out Lundqvist for 60+ games.
Mike asked the question on July 10th if the Rangers should be looking for another goalie. The question has been finally answered, and in training camp there will be a three way dance for the title of Rangers backup goalie.