Start of Rangers’ training camp re-sparks goalie debate

Shesterkin, Lundqvist
Igor Shesterkin (left) with Henrik Lundqvist (30). (Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports)

Not many coaches would want to be in David Quinn’s shoes — even if he’s dealing with a good problem within the New York Rangers’ ranks. 

Training camp began at team facilities on Monday where the Rangers’ head coach is faced with the pressing issue of choosing a No. 1 goaltender amongst his trio of talents: franchise veteran netminder Henrik Lundqvist, star rookie Igor Shesterkin, and Alexandar Georgiev. 

But this isn’t a clean slate where a goaltending competition is expected to break out. 

“This isn’t training camp,” Quinn said. “We are picking up where we left off and I want that to be crystal clear.”

If that’s the case, then Shesterkin should be getting the nod for the Rangers qualifying series against the Carolina Hurricanes beginning on Aug. 1. 

In his first 12 career NHL games with the club earlier this season, the 24-year-old posted a 10-2-0 record with a .932 save percentage and a 2.52 goals-against average. During that stretch, he became the fourth goalie in NHL history to win nine of his first 10 games after being called up from the team’s AHL affiliate in Hartford in January.

But Quinn did leave the door open for other options, stating that the next three weeks of training camp will be crucial in making those final decisions. 

For the veteran Lundqvist, it’s another opportunity to regain his No. 1 role that was relinquished during a difficult season in which he posted a 10-12-3 record with a career-worst .905 save percentage and 3.16 goals-against average. He was used sparingly down the stretch before the coronavirus hiatus, appearing in just six games from Jan. 11 to March 12. 

The 38-year-old has already made it known that he believes he still has something left in the tank and is ready to “fight” for the No. 1 role — and his track record against the Hurricanes will certainly help his cause. 

He possesses a 33-12-1 record, 2.00 goals-against average, and a .934 save percentage in his career against Carolina. That includes a 3-0-0 mark against them this season.

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