The New York Rangers starting goalie for next season is not a question. Igor Shesterkin is about to win his first Vezina Trophy after an outstanding regular season, which he followed up with a great playoff performance. The question is who will be Igor’s backup? Coming off playing a career-high 53 games in the regular season the Rangers need a capable goalie to back up Igor and play the other 20-25 games. For the last four seasons, Alexandar Georgiev has held the job. He is currently a Restricted Free Agent and has a price tag the Rangers can no longer afford. This means they will be in the market for a new number two.
The two other goalies to see action for the Rangers this season are Keith Kinkaid and Adam Huska. They both need new contracts, Kinkaid is a UFA, and Huska is an RFA. Their new deals shouldn’t break the bank, which is what the Rangers need to help with their cap situation next year. The two combined to form a pretty solid duo in Hartford but are the Rangers ready to give either of them the backup role.
Kinkaid has far more experience of the two. The soon-to-be 33-year-old has played in 167 career NHL games and owns a career 2.92 GAA and .905 SV%. He has appeared in 10 games for the Rangers the past two seasons and has been solid when called into duty. He has NHL experience as a starter so if he were pressed into extended duty that experience could help the Rangers.
Huska made his NHL debut this past season and got roughed up by the Colorado Avalanche. The world just watched the Avs score 7 on Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Stanley Cup Final so don’t put too much stock in that. The 25-year-old was selected by the Rangers in the 7th Round of the 2015 NHL draft. He has played parts of 4 seasons in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack, playing in 79 games. He has played very well the past two seasons for the Wolf Pack and has a career 2.93 GAA and .896 SV% in the AHL. Huska has also played very well on the international stage. He has been the starting goalie for his home country Slovakia the past two years.
Possible Free Agent Signings
With the Rangers current cap situation, they need to have a backup goalie come in around or under the million-dollar mark. There are a few candidates that are soon to be UFA’s that should come in under that number and be able to give the Rangers a chance to win when Igor needs a breather.
Rangers fans will remember him from his time with the New Jersey Devils, but he had a very solid season this past year. Wedgewood started the season with the Devils before being dealt to the Arizona Coyotes. With the Coyotes he took over as the starting goalie, putting up good numbers on a bad team. He then was traded at the deadline and helped the Dallas Stars down the stretch. He played in 37 games this year and finished with a respectable .910 SV%.
Rittich didn’t have the best year for the Predators this past season, but he is a proven solid NHL goalie. The former All-Star has played 151 career NHL games and has a solid 70-43-20 record. He had a great run with the Calgary Flames as a starter and would be a solid addition to back up Igor. He has starting experience and should be right in that million-dollar range.
The soon-to-be 27-year-old had a great season for the Winnipeg Jets. He appeared in 19 games this season and finished with a 10-5-1 record, a great .920 SV%, and a 2.58 GAA. Comrie has great numbers at the AHL level and this last season was the longest run he has received at the NHL level. He made $825K this past season but should see a raise following his performance this last year. He should still be in the Rangers range for what they want to pay a backup goalie.
Long Shot Candidates
Does the last name ring a bell? Yes, Charlie is Ryan Lindgren’s brother. The older Lindgren brother had quite the season this year. Lindgren went 5-0 for the St. Louis Blues this year posting a 1.22 GAA in his limited NHL appearances. He has been outstanding in the AHL for Springfield. He’s led them to the Calder Cup Final while posting a .925 SV% and a 2.21 GAA.
The Rangers saw first-hand what Domingue could do in the playoffs. The 30-year-old was unexpectedly pressed into duty for the Penguins and played well. Domingue has played in 142 NHL games and owns a respectable .905 career SV%. He had a really good season in the AHL, posting a 2.41 GAA and a .924 SV%. It would be pretty funny to see him end up in a Rangers jersey.
If the Rangers decide to not go down the Free Agent path, Chris Drury might find a trade partner at the draft. Once draft day approaches, I am sure we will start to hear some names come out about who’s available. A name to possibly watch in the trade market is Joey Daccord.
Daccord has two veteran goalies under contract ahead of him right now on the Seattle depth chart. He had a very good season in the AHL and has some NHL experience. The Rangers have some forward depth that might entice Seattle to make a deal.
I don’t see it happening. The past two seasons have been up and down for him, and I think he needs a fresh start. Last summer there was a rumor of a trade request. His agent said he wants to be a starting goalie, and that is just not going to happen with the Rangers. He is still an RFA, so the Rangers have some control with him. Knowing what his salary demands will be the Rangers just cannot afford him. Look for Chris Drury to trade his rights before or on draft day to get some value back for him.
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