By Lenn Robbins
There might not be a person on the planet who has a better sense of what’s going on with the Rangers’ three-headed goaltending situation then Mike Richter.
Richter, the star goaltender on the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion Rangers’ team, was back in The Garden Saturday night where he served as the ambassador for the Harvard-Yale Rivalry on Ice.
It is that same ice that three Rangers’ goalies – future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist, his once-presumed replacement, Alexandar Georgiev and rookie sensation, Igor Shesterkin – have to share.
In the world of goaltending, where three’s a crowd, Richter knows something’s gotta give.
“I think this is the sign of a great organization, right,’’ Richter told TheNYExtra.com. “They’re drafting well and they’re developing very well. And so, they are blessed with three world class goalies.
“Does that mean that somebody’s going to have to be moved? Eventually, yeah. And when I say move, when I came here there was Bob Froese, John Vanbiesbrouck and myself and you’d rather have strength at the position.
“The nature of it is injuries, people getting older you always have to have the ability to create new, great players from within the organization. You can’t always pick them. So yeah, I think that’s a real indication that they’re doing something well. These are hard guys to get.”
Since 2005, Lundqvist has given the Rangers amazing stability at the most important position on hockey. He made his first start when Kevin Weekes was injured.
Cam Talbot seemed on track toward replacing The King, after he got injured. The Rangers traded Talbot to Edmonton for three picks in the 2015 draft.
Georgiev came on the scene in 2017 and by the end of last season had tongues wagging that the Lundqvist Era was nearing its end. Enter Igor.
It’s been more than five years since the Rangers took Shesterkin in the fourth round of the 2014 entry draft. If he’s returned to the Hartford Wolf Pack he has the option of returning to play in Russia, or elsewhere.
After a shaky start against the Colorado Avalanche, a 5-3 Rangers win, Shesterkin settled down. He’s 2-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .926 save percentage.
So as Richter said, eventually someone is going to have to be moved.
“Well, you never know where everybody’s going to end up,” said Richter. “I was in that position. I was in the lucky position of the new guy coming in. It’s harder on the older guys, when the young guy comes up, if you’re already established.
“I think time will tell because nowadays its almost impossible to answer in less you have all the information on the table. There’s salary caps, there’s no-trade clauses, there’s the ability of Shesterkin to go back. All of these things factor in.
“One thing you don’t want is to be left with nothing. If I’ve got wealth in this position, how do I parlay that into strength for my organization? But you’re never in that position unless you’re doing two things – drafting well and developing players within your organization.”
NOTES: Richter, a Yale alum, is a strong supporter of finding ways to reverse global warming. He skated with Last Game in between the first and second periods of Harvard’s 7-0 win over Yale.
Founded by former New Jersey Devils great, Slava Festisov, Last Game is a series of hockey games that strives to bring awareness to the devastating effect of climate change. Last Game is trying to schedule a final game in the North Pole.
“We have a lot of really smart people in this country that working together, can find solutions,’’ Richter said. “This is something we should have been addressing 20 years ago. It’s not a political issue. This affects all of us.”