The New York Rangers should say goodbye to Alexandar Georgiev. It may be a rough goodbye for the players who have seen him in the locker room and on the ice for several years. I know it is hard for players to leave and for teammates to see their friends leave after being involved in an organization for so long. Even fans feel that way about players leaving a team. There is just a time and place when changes need to be made it that time has come for Georgiev. Here is why Georgiev needs to go.
Three options for Georgiev
I have made it clear that he should go and there is a chance this will happen, especially since his contract is about to expire after this season. Once Georgiev’s contract expires, he will be an arbitration eligible restricted free agent. If the Rangers don’t make a qualifying offer of $2.4 million, he could walk.
Here are the options for Georgiev.
The first option is to allow Georgiev to become an Unrestricted Free Agent by not extending a qualifying offer.
The second option is to trade him at the deadline. If the Rangers acquired a new goalie, or even a new offensive player, which they need as well, it takes time for the team and player to adjust. At least Georgiev is a known commodity. They are in a playoff position right now and we should all want them to stay there.
The third option is to trade him during the offseason. If he is traded, the Rangers will need to find a suitable, less costly replacement and it is better to wait until after the season is over to do that.
The problem with Georgiev is his inconsistency. While he has played 21 games this season, he hasn’t done well filling in when Igor Shesterkin needed a break.
Although Shesterkin leads the league in Save Percentage (Sv%) and Goals Against Average (GAA) and is third in wins (27), he still needs time off, especially on back-to-back games.
Overall, Georgiev is 7-8-0-2 this season with a 3.05 GAA and a .897 Sv%. They are definitely not the best numbers in the NHL, but it is also a tale of two seasons.
In the two stints Georgiev had as a consistent starter, here’s how he did.
In December, Shesterkin sustained a lower body injury and Georgiev went 3-2-1 with a .935 Sv%, allowing 12 goals in six games. Not too shabby. When Shesterkin was out with COVID in January, Georgiev went 2-2 with a .930 Sv%.
In comparison, Georgiev has been awful as a spot starter with a 2-4-1 record and a .850 Sv%.
Georgiev has proven that he can be an NHL goalie with a lifetime 50-46-11 record with a 2.96 GAA and a .909 Sv%, as well as six shutouts.
Since the 2017-18 season, 47 goalies have played as many as the 96 games Georgiev appeared in. Georgiev ranked 23rd in Sv% and was 39th in GAA, as well as 28th overall with six shutouts.
With Shesterkin embedded as the Rangers’ top netminder for years to come, they need a backup who can play well when called upon. Based on his stats it’s is easy to see that Georgiev cannot fill in as a spot starter for Shesterkin, so he needs to go.
What are the possible landing spots?
With the trade deadline approaching, teams have to make decisions on who they want and who they want to get rid of. Georgiev is one of the names being looked at, currently eighth on the TSN trade bait list.
Travis Yost of TSN recently wrote that the Montreal Canadiens could be interested in Georgiev. The Canadiens are horrible this year and are looking to rebuild back.
Although the Canadiens may not be able to live up to their glory days from the years passed, they definitely need to do something. Having 35 points in 55 games is sad for a team that made it to the Stanley Cup FInal last season.
Besides looking to rebuild their team, the Canadiens are in a terrible situation when it comes to the salary cap. Also, Carey Price has been out. Price hasn’t played a game this season because of knee surgery, as well as recovering from a hip injury.
Price also missed the start of the season and all of training camp after being admitted into the NHL’s player assistance program. While Price did start knee rehabilitation in January, he did say he plans on returning later in the season. Who knows if this is the case though.
It also doesn’t hurt to have Jeff Gorton running hockey operations for the Canadiens either. The former Rangers GM knows Georgiev well, making the Bulgarian a good option for the Canadiens.
Other teams may have an interest in Georgiev as well. The Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, and Colorado Avalanche may be in the market for a goalie as the trade deadline inches closer.
All these teams are in the playoff hunt and can either use a new goalie as a full-time starter or for insurance.
The final verdict
Here is where I stand on Georgiev. I would keep him as a backup until the end of the season, then look to trade him.
I am sure some people think I despise Georgiev, but this isn’t true at all. There was a time when I really liked him and wouldn’t think about trading him. Now that his numbers have continued to take a downward spiral, I feel his talent can be better suited for other teams.