When Sunday’s arbitration-filing deadline came and went without Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin being on that list, it caught some by surprise. However, it appears there was a reason for that as USA Today’s Vince Z. Mercogliano reports that the two sides are making progress on an agreement in the $5.75M to $6M per season range. Evidently, those discussions have gone well enough without needing to put the pressure point of a hearing in place.
The 25-year-old was drafted in the fourth round by the Rangers back in 2014 but they had to wait a long time to sign him; Shesterkin only came to North America two years ago. After spending most of his rookie campaign in the minors, Shesterkin was New York’s starter last season, posting a 16-14-3 record along with a 2.62 GAA and a .919 SV%, numbers that were both better than the league average. At this point, he’s clearly their starter of the present and future which is why Alexandar Georgiev has been in trade speculation for more than a year now.
One of the challenges in finding a viable deal that works for both sides is Shesterkin’s lack of experience as he has just 48 career appearances under his belt (including one playoff game in the bubble in 2020). There aren’t many comparables to work with which would have made an arbitration hearing particularly interesting. Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko was one of those reasonable comparable options but it appears his five-year, $25M will represent more of the floor than the ceiling.
The Rangers have ample cap space to work with to fit Shesterkin’s eventual contract in as they have more than $13M in cap room per CapFriendly with only the netminder and blueliner Libor Hajek to re-sign. Getting this deal done sooner than later would give GM Chris Drury a better idea of what he’s able to spend this summer and between this report and the fact his camp didn’t file for arbitration suggests they’re getting close to having an agreement in place.