The New York Rangers have placed Igor Shesterkin on injured reserve, and he will be out of action for at least the next week. They have also called up Adam Huska, and he will serve as the team’s backup for the time being.
#NYR have also recalled F Morgan Barron from Hartford and placed Igor Shesterkin on IR.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) December 4, 2021
Shesterkin must miss at least a week, which means the next three games at a minimum.
It's Alexandar Georgiev's show for now.
#NYR have called up G Adam Huska, per AHL transactions.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) December 4, 2021
The Rangers have a record of 15-4-3 and 33 points through 22 games played, and will play the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, again on Tuesday, December 7, the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, December 8, and the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, December 10.
The crease will likely be Georgiev’s for all of those contests, unless the team makes a trade for someone to take Huska’s spot on the roster in order to give the team an experienced option as an insurance policy.
If Georgiev falters it wouldn’t be out of the question for Huska to get at least one game, and this season he’s posted a .924 SV% and 2.20 GAA with the Pack. It is also possible that by the time the Rangers need another goalie that Keith Kinkaid will be out of the COVID protocol, but that remains to be seen.
According to Gerard Gallant, Shesterkin’s injury isn’t as bad as it looks, so there’s the potential that this IR stint will be short.
Coach Gallant on Shesterkin: minor lower body, “not as bad as it looked.”— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 4, 2021
He also had an MRI, and he will skate on Thursday to test how he’s feeling.
As for Igor Shesterkin, he had an MRI today and I'm hearing there was no long-term injury revealed. The #NYR will let him rest for the next 3 games before having him skate Thursday to test out the lower-body injury and determine a target date for his return. https://t.co/YIA3G9SJge— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) December 4, 2021
While a long-term injury would have dire consequences for the Rangers and their season, right now they have banked up a good amount of points. They are in a position where they can afford a lose or two with Georgiev in net, and they have the resources and cap space to get another goalie if needed.
And while you never want an injury to be a catalyst, the Rangers are now being forced to confront their backup goaltending issue. Simply stated, Georgiev has played very poorly for the Rangers. He’s posted a -6.56 Goals Saved Above Average, and a -8.00 Goals Saved Above Expected per Evolving-Hockey.
To this point the Rangers have been avoiding the situation by just playing Shesterkin as much as possible. But now they are being forced to play Georgiev, and this is likely going to be the make-or-break stretch which determines his future as a Ranger. If he can answer the bell, play well, and develop confidence... that’s great for the Rangers and Georgiev. If the opposite happens... it can’t be said that he wasn’t given an opportunity to play and prove himself.
Tonight the crease is Georgiev’s and he will be playing against a Chicago team that has a record of 8-12-2. but is 7-3-0 over the last 10 games. The Rangers are 9-1-0 in their last 10, and have been playing in a way that should enable them to win, but ultimately that’s why they play the games. Georgiev has a golden opportunity ahead of him, and for his sake and the Rangers, here’s to hoping he is up to the task at hand.