It’s not really a debate when people question whether or not New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL (spoiler alert — he is). But after him and backup Cam Talbot, the position depth is very weak, and with Talbot possibly changing uniforms next season, the need for goaltending is just as important as any need New York currently has.
One of those wake-up call moments was the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After Talbot went down with a hand injury, the team had to rely on David LeNeveu, barring any Lundqvist injury. I’m pretty sure none of you could trust LeNeveu in front of the pipes. Did you see the look on his face when Lundqvist almost got seriously injured? He looked like a lost puppy in the wilderness of New York City.
You have to give the Rangers credit for addressing the position this offseason. One of the most critiqued draft picks they had in the 2014 NHL Draft was goaltender Brandon Halverson. Drafted in the second round, Halverson is quick on his feet and can stretch his body quite well. He might be a young raw talent, but so was Lundqvist 14 years ago. Halverson won’t be called upon right away, and players need time. New York also drafted Igor Shestyorkin in the fourth round.
In free agency, they signed Cedric Desjardins and Jason Missiaen. Desjardins might not have any recent success, but he’s a great locker room guy who could only get better. Sure, he won’t be a starting NHL goaltender in his career, but his success in the AHL proves that he’s a solid backup option. Re-signing Missiaen was also huge for the Rangers, as he’s a backup who can clog the net at 6-foot-8.
If you can tell me with a straight face that you trust the Rangers’ backup goalies minus Talbot, you’re a liar. Don’t be surprised if Talbot jets for a starting job. Backup goaltender is the most underrated position on a team, and while the Rangers lacked it before, it’s slowly becoming a surplus.