The Rangers’ three-goalie situation appears to be reaching somewhat of a head.
Lundqvist’s play is likely being affected by the noticeably decreased number of starts he’s getting, and Georgiev has been expressing frustration with the rotation and his lack of use. The only one who may not be feeling the strain is Shestyorkin, who may be enjoying his NHL debut too much to be overly concerned by the situation right now.
Clearly, the NYR management has to make a decision at some point about who will be staying with the team and who will be moved. But who will go, and when?
Here are 3 factors that could influence management’s decision-making.
1) Toronto Has Acquired a Goalie
Toronto was originally thought to be one of the main destinations for Georgiev if he was going to be traded before the deadline. However, their acquisition of Campbell from the Kings takes Toronto out of the Georgiev market. This makes it more likely that any moves involving one of the Rangers’ goalies will wait until offseason as most of the teams that need a goalie—like San Jose or LA—aren’t making a playoff push.
The only team that might need a goalie before the playoffs is Florida, but with the Rangers’ asking price for Georgiev, it’s likely he’s not going anywhere until the end of the season.
2) The Market for Other NYR Assets at the Deadline
Right now, Chris Kreider is the most marketable asset the Rangers have at the deadline. Currently number one on TSN Hockey’s trade bait list, the Rangers have the most options with Kreider since there is still the possibility they could trade him as a rental and re-sign him in the offseason if they were very committed to keeping him. However, the Rangers also have other marketable assets teams might be interested in like DeAngelo, Fast, and Buchnevich.
With all these players in flux, management’s priority might be to try and figure out which of these players moving at the deadline and for what price. As a result, the goalie situation might be dealt with during the offseason after some other decisions have been made about the team’s direction.
3) It’s Harder to Move Lundqvist
Despite the recent buzz suggesting that moving Lundqvist isn’t out of the realm of possibility, it would still be much harder than moving Georgiev. To trade Henrik, he would have to waive his no-move clause, and a buyout would get his contract off the books sooner, but at the expense of future cap space, the Rangers may need when they plan to make a run for the cup.
The easiest way for the Rangers to part company with Lundqvist would be for him to retire after this season which isn’t out of the realm of possibility but isn’t a guarantee either. Georgiev, on the other hand, is much easier to move.
While it’s impossible to know for sure, the details of the Rangers’ present situation suggest that it’s still a safer bet to assume Georgiev will be the one moved despite the buzz surrounding Lundqvist. And whoever gets moved to solve the three-goalie log jam probably won’t get moved until the offseason, so Lundqvist, Shestyorkin, and Georgiev will likely have to make the best of the situation until the season ends.
Hopefully, the lack of starts doesn’t wind up affecting anyone’s game because goaltending has been one of the most consistent factors for the Rangers this season.
Featured Image: The Canadian Press