Hockey

New York Rangers Trade Georgiev for Three Draft Picks

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This afternoon, the New York Rangers traded backup goaltender, Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third and fifth-round selection in tonight’s draft and a third-round pick in 2023. During their run to lift the Stanley Cup, the Avs’ one weakness happened to be having a not-so-strong goalie tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz and added depth to the position by adding the five-year veteran.

Since his play declined this year, Georgiev had been on the trade-block, but posting a save-percentage (SV%) below .900 did not attract any suitors but Drury has managed to move the back-up who did give the Rangers four full seasons and was tutored by famed goaltending coach, Benoit Allaire. The 2018-19 season was Georgiev’s first full year and he went 14-13-4 with a .914 save percentage. However, the following 2019-20 campaign was the Bulgarian’s finest as he went 17-14-2 to go along with a .910 SV% and 3.04 Goals-against-average.

Nevertheless, in the last two seasons, Georgiev’s numbers include a SV % of around .900 which means his play had actually declined. If Georgiev had improved, a suitor would have traded for him at this trade deadline. In terms of what the Rangers got in return, it’s as good as could be hoped for because Drury was able to re-stock the Blueshirts’ depleted farm system, which has seen many recent draft picks like Braden Schneider earn a spot in the big show last season.

The Rangers Goaltending Next Year

The Rangers have two options for replacing their backup goalie; sign a free agent or let the prospects compete for the job. However, unless this free agent makes less than $2 million it would be impossible to squeeze them in under the Rangers cap. Former Vezina winner Braden Holtby is available but would be the costliest option out there. Jack Campbell had the best numbers of any free agent goalie available, anchoring the Maple Leafs with a 31-9-6 record, a 2.64 GAA and .914 SV%. However, Campbell deserves a nice contract and it’s likely the Rangers aren’t able to give him what he will want because New York have to resign many veterans.

Because Igor Shesterkin was so great and never got injured this past season and Georgiev was solid, neither Keith Kinkaid nor Adam Huska really saw NHL ice. Oh right, Huska played in one game against Colorado and gave up seven goals but in the American Hockey League (AHL) both split time and both posted underwhelming numbers. However, the veteran is Kinkaid, and his numbers were better than Huska’s, so I would lean towards him next year.

The “Future Blue” page on the Rangers nhl.com website lists four prospect goaltenders in their system. Of the four, Olof Lindblom will turn 23 on July 23 and was picked 39th overall (second round) in the 2018 draft. The Swede spent the last three seasons in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) where only this year has his SV % risen above .900 which is not great. This may place the organization’s hope in Dylan Garand, a fourth-round pick in 2020. The 20-year-old from British Columbia has played five seasons in the Western Hockey League. Last season he made his mark, finishing tied for first in the WHL in wins (34), second in SV% (.924) and in GAA (2.16). However, at the 2021 U20 World Junior championships, Garand was less than dominant, giving up three goals in the only game he played in of the tournament.

There’s also Talyn Boyko, a 6’7” monster of a man who was picked in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Boyko was not as good as Garand in the WHL with Kelowna this year but did play in more games than he did and post a respectable .913 SV%. Last but not least is 20-year-old, Hugo Ollas, who was picked in the seventh round of 2020. This is the second 6’7” goalie the Rangers have, and he spent this past year in the NCAA with Merrimack College, where he posted an impressive .924 SV% and 2.24 GAA in 2021-22.

Overall, the Rangers farm system does not have a high-end goalie talent who is ready to step up and that is fine since Shesterkin is the man. But they do have four goaltending prospects, chief of which is Garand who is still 20 years old and should continue to develop this season. As for potential back-up for Shesterkin next season, Kinkaid seems to be the guy unless he breaks down physically. However, trading Georgiev was probably necessary because he would have asked for a raise this season and Drury did well to gain two draft picks at this year’s draft.

A Puzzling Situation in Colorado

It is puzzling that the defending Stanley Cup champs went out and traded three mid-round draft picks for Georgiev because Francouz had a much better year in 22 this season than Georgie had over 33 games in New York. Both goalies had 15 wins but Francouz’s SV % and GAA edge Georgiev’s which include a paltry .898 SV %. Does that mean Colorado is comfortable going into next year with two mediocre goalies? Unless they put some of the 24 million in cap space towards a Campbell or Holtby, that seems to be the case.

The Avs have six starting defensemen signed through next year, but three forwards need signing. These include Valeri Nichuskin, who finally put seven bad seasons behind him and had a breakout 52-point year on a stacked team. Say they give Nichuskin seven million, and Nazem Kadri takes eight, that gives Colorado nine million to go after a free agent goalie and I’m guessing it would be enough to take on an aging Marc-Andre Fleury. Overall, the Avs goalie situation is less than ideal, and it will be very interesting to see how the defending champs tackle this problem.

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Tony is a Rangers fan who has stuck with his team through thick and thin and doesn't plan on stopping, ever! Covering the latest news on New York's original six franchise is one of his favorite hobbies.