5694947 10.11.2018 Russia's goaltender Igor Shestyorkin makes a save during the Karjala Cup ice hockey match between Sweden and Russia, in Helsinki, Finland, November 10, 2018. Alexei Danichev / Sputnik  via AP
5694947 10.11.2018 Russia's goaltender Igor Shestyorkin makes a save during the Karjala Cup ice hockey match between Sweden and Russia, in Helsinki, Finland, November 10, 2018. Alexei Danichev / Sputnik via AP

Russians Sign

Back in 2014, the Rangers selected 18 year old Russian netminder Igor Shesterkin who was set to join St Petesburg of the KHL for his second senior season, as a backup netminder.  Since that date, the now 23 year old goaltender has hardly put a step wrong, backstopping his team for the last three seasons with a sub 2.00 GAA and a save percentage that reached an impressive .953 this past year.

In coming to New York, he’ll face the usual challenge of adjusting to a new country and a new language.  Fortunately for the Rangers, they have a handful of Russian speakers, with the likes of Vladislav NamestnikovPavel Buchnevich and Aleksander Georgiev all on the current roster.  If, as expected, he ends up in Hartford to start, then he’ll have fewer fellow Russians, and as such he may find the transition takes a little longer.

Whether Sheshterkin can make the opening roster, remains to be seen.  In Georgiev and veteran Henrik Lundqvist, the rookie will have to make a big impression during camp and the preseason in order to force a change, though it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he might make an appearance at some time during hte year.

Joining him will be 2018 first round pick Vitali Kravtsov.  The 19 year old winger was the first of three first rounders the Rangers made last season, and is ranked amongst the top prospects not currently playing in the NHL  As a winger, Kravtsov faces a shorter path into the line-up, and expectations are high that he can make a quick impression, though one should have measured expectations, given that he put up a solid, though not necessarily remarkable 8 goals in 50 appearances last year for Chelyabinsk of the KHL.

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