One of the cushiest goaltending positions in the NHL next season will be lining up as the backup goalie for New York Rangers star Igor Shesterkin. Perennially underrated goaltender Jaroslav Halak will be the goaltender to fill that role as he signed a one-year deal with the Rangers.
Halak has played 556 NHL games, winning 285 of them, giving him the 47th most wins by any goaltender in NHL history. He has played for six teams before the Rangers and has been relatively consistent for his whole career. However, he did have a bit of a hiccup last season when he played for the Vancouver Canucks. In Vancouver, Halak had a record of 4-7-2 with an SV% of .903, the second lowest such mark of his career.
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Regardless, the Rangers were willing to take a chance on his tremendous amount of experience and signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.55 million. That is a pretty good deal for both sides as the Rangers get a relatively cheap backup, while Halak gets another chance to prove that he is still a good NHL goaltender as he dreams of hitting 300 career wins.
Fit With the Rangers
Once again, Shesterkin will likely play a ton of games in 2022-23, which minimizes Halak’s responsibility considerably. If he can be reasonably good with about 15-20 starts, then the Rangers will be very happy with this signing. There will be very little asked of him as long as Shesterkin is able to maintain his form following his incredible 2021-22 season, which ended with the NHL’s Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender.
Once Alexander Georgiev was traded to the Colorado Avalanche last week, it became clear that the Rangers would be searching for a new backup goalie on the open market. Joining a team that is better defensively than the Canucks will give Halak a better shot at earning another NHL contract following next season.
Halak Experiment in Vancouver Fails
Expectations were understandably high for Halak in Vancouver as fans and management have grown used to the exceptional play of Thatcher Demko. However, poor deployment decisions seemed to do a number on Halak’s confidence as he struggled to find his game.
When both Halak and Demko were out with illnesses during the season, the Canucks discovered that AHL goaltender Spencer Martin had the poise and skill to serve as Demko’s backup, so they locked him up to a multi-year extension, effectively closing the door on an already unlikely return for Halak. He will hope to bounce back in 2022-23 as the Rangers try to build on their 2022 playoff success.
Logan is a sports writer for the Detroit Red Wings as a member of The Hockey Writers team. He loves reading about statistics and advanced analytics, and discovering how they can enrich his hockey analysis and writing. Logan also writes about more general hockey topics on his blog https://www.crashthecrease.blog.