Alexandar Georgiev has been a very polarizing topic for Rangers fans over the last few years. Some thinking he was better than we could have ever expected, some thinking he has no business on an NHL team. Also, some just here along for the wild ride that we get to call February of 2020 with...you know, that thing that happened involving this player and a different one...
Truthfully, Georgiev very likely falls into an average category where it was never really the right time or place for him to thrive. After four seasons with the Rangers, playing backup to Henrik Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin, Georgiev found a new home with the reigning champions, the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for three draft picks.
Georgie was never shy about wanting to be a starter on a team so it seems that is what the Avs intend for him after it was clear that was not an opportunity he would find staying in New York. He has already signed a three-year deal with Colorado and the Rangers have filled the backup role with Jaroslav Halak on a one-year deal.
In 33 games this season, Georgiev posted a .898 save percentage, which dips just a bit lower than his career average. He went 15-10-2, tied his career high two shutouts (that may hold a little more weight considering who they were against), and had a small but mighty playoff appearance where he came in to bail out a struggling Shesterkin in two games against the Penguins.
Being a backup goaltender is really a double-edged sword of sorts. You don’t get consistent playing time, you know you’re being talked about a ‘trade bait’ nearly every day, and when you do get to start, you’re expected to be perfect even if the statistics would show you can’t be. With the added pressure of being ‘the guy who punched Tony DeAngelo’ and playing behind the best goalie in the league having a tear of a season who would go on to win the Vezina, you might as well make it a quadruple-edged sword for Georgiev too.
That being said, for a guy who was basically already halfway out the door by the All-Star Game, Georgiev wasn’t bad.
In a shock to no one, Georgiev (as is probable with most players) played better at even-strength. When things got out of hand shorthanded however, it did become a little disastrous for the goalie. Remember that pressure thing I talked about before? It seemed to be his downfall. The 26-year-old had -5 goals saved above expected this season which isn’t great but can seem like a lot worse when the alternative is Igor Shesterkin.
Despite a lackluster year that ended up with Georgiev and the team parting ways, he left us with some good moments. In March he became the fourth Rangers goaltender to record a 40+ save shutout. He was the only Rangers goaltender during the season to beat the Hurricanes and did so with a shutout. He had a 7-game win streak through December and January while getting consistent starts while Shesterkin was out with an injury.
Alexandar Georgiev =— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 21, 2022
Georgiev (44 saves) became the fourth different @NYRangers goaltender to record 40+ saves in a shutout (since 1955-56 when shots on goal began being tracked). #NHLStats: https://t.co/gijpiRCzYv pic.twitter.com/1XZ2Td53Bc
If I may be candid for a moment, punchlines and punches aside, Georgiev grew to be my personal favorite player to watch and root for since joining the Rangers. He became a punching bag for fans time and time again, and maybe it speaks more to my issue of always pulling for an underdog and rooting for the player with a chip on their shoulder than the obvious standout...but between his kind nature, friendly demeanor, and ability to prove people wrong on the ice when he really needed to, he will be a player I miss and genuinely mean it when I say I wish him well.
remember when alexandar georgiev raised more than $5,000 for three new york-area charities from this helmet. https://t.co/eK3gjQNiwf— rangers captain denier (3 times) (@meowsinternally) July 10, 2022
Author Grade: C+
Banter Consensus: C
All in all, this season was not the best for him, sure, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who should be disappointed or unhappy with his Rangers tenure. He went from an undrafted kid posting about how much he loved Lundqvist on NHL message boards, to the first Bulgarian born player in the NHL, went toe-to-toe with Ovechkin in a shootout (and lost in comical fashion), and made enough of a name for himself to land on the Stanley Cup winning team this offseason.
I’d like to end this with something about ‘right place, wrong time.’ The Rangers will be just fine, but I think he will be too.
*All Data via Evolving Hockey