He is also one of the best players in the NHL in any position. He was named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy for most valuable player of the regular season and is almost guaranteed to receive the Vézina Trophy for top goaltender. All voters needed was his .935 save percentage and 2.07 goals-against average, both league-best.
Shesterkin, 26, was drafted out of Russia by Rangers in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and fit right into a line of Rangers goalkeepers dating back to the early 1990s with Mike Richter, who was followed , two years after his own retirement. , by Henrik Lundqvist in 2005.
“What a string of goaltenders we’ve seen here with the Rangers,” said Eddie Olczyk, a TNT analyst and Richter’s teammate on the last Rangers team to win a Stanley Cup, in 1994. It hasn’t been a problem for Rangers, and when you have it, you have a chance to win every night.
Olczyk said he spoke to Gallant months ago about Shesterkin, and the coach praised him for the goalkeeper’s incredible ability to read, react and get in the right position before the shot or the pass.
“I don’t think you hear that very often,” Olczyk said. “He seems to know what’s going to happen first. When this happens, you are playing five card stud with six cards. It’s a very good hand to play with.
Lundqvist was like that too. He was still a Ranger when Shesterkin made his debut on January 7, 2020. Shesterkin spoke very little English then, and it was difficult for Lundqvist to communicate with him in a casual and thorough way to get a sense of who Shesterkin was. . But he noticed his new team-mate was rather relaxed and chatty with other Russian-speaking Rangers players, like Pavel Buchnevich and Vladislav Namestnikov, both of whom are no longer with the squad.
Now a Rangers analyst on the MSG Network, Lundqvist says Shesterkin’s laid-back demeanor was key to the Russian goalkeeper’s ability to withstand pressure and failure – what little he had of it.