New York Ranger netminder Igor Shesterkin came into the NHL as an unknown except to Ranger management. Over his career, he is making a name for himself as the best goalie in the league.
The 6-foot-1 and 183-pound netminder holds the position with the most pressure in the city with the most pressure. So far he has looked past both and put up some numbers that may put him in the NHL Hall of Fame.
Shesterkin, the Rangers 4th round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, had big shoes to fill once Ranger goaltending legend Henrik Lundqvist retired. He has proved doubters wrong, leading the Rangers to playoff contention year after year.
Before coming to New York, Shesterkin spent 7 seasons in the KHL, playing with SKA St-Petersburg. Over that span, he played 117 games, with a record of 88-19-15, 27 shutouts, a save % of .935, and a GAA of an unheard of 1.68.
From there he spent 1 season in the AHL with Hartford, going 17-4-5, with a 1.90 GAA, a .934 save %, and 3 shutouts. Needless to say, he was making noise before his NHL debut.
Shesterkin can win games on his own. The Rangers know that if a mistake is made then Shesterkin will be there to mop up the damage.
Blessed with quickness, excellent rebound control, and the mindset to control the game from the crease, Shesterkin is always one step ahead of the opposition. The Rangers are Stanley Cup contenders year after year just because of Shesterkin.
Shesterkin plays a patient game. He rarely makes the first move and will wait until the shooter is finally ready to take the shot as he challenges every shooter and gives little room for the opposition’s creativity.
This season, Shesterkin is 15-4, with a GAA of 2.09 and a save % of .936. A full season has Shesterkin winning over 30 games on a team that is a threat to everyone in the NHL.
To say he has the Vezina Trophy locked up may be a bit premature. But with the numbers he has put up so far this season, the race is definitely leaning his way.