New York Rangers

How hypothetical Sharks-Alexandar Georgiev trade would fill huge need

How hypothetical Sharks-Alexandar Georgiev trade would fill huge need

Editor's Note: This week, NBC Sports Bay Area will theorize hypothetical front-office acquisitions for each of our teams. Today, we examine a potential move the Sharks could make.

The New York Rangers have a surplus of goalies, and that's the position where the Sharks need help most.

San Jose has the NHL’s worst 5-on-5 save percentage (.899) since the start of the 2018-19 season, according to Natural Stat Trick. Of the 69 goalies who have played at least 1,000 5-on-5 minutes during that time, Aaron Dell (.908) and Martin Jones (.894) rank 60th and 68th. That’s not so nice, and the Sharks will need to be better in the crease if they want to return to the playoffs next season.

Enter the Rangers.

New York rode a three-headed monster of handsome face of the franchise Henrik Lundqvist, future face of the franchise Igor Shesterkin and 24-year-old Alexandar Georgiev this season. The Rangers surely won’t carry three goalies again next season with the salary cap likely to remain flat, and the Sharks can benefit.

Here’s how they do it.

The Trade

Sharks send: 2020 second-round pick

Rangers send: G Alexandar Georgiev

Shesterkin had seized the reigns as New York’s No. 1 (with apologies to Mike Francesa) when the NHL suspended its season in March. Lundqvist, meanwhile, is 37, carries an $8.5 million salary-cap hit and has a full no-movement clause. The former isn’t likely to be traded, and the latter isn’t going to be a long-term solution for the Rangers or Sharks.

Georgiev appears to be the odd man out in New York, and he would fit in San Jose. He’s set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, young enough to fit the Sharks’ desired (rapid) rebuilding timeline and good enough to upgrade the team’s goaltending depth.

In three seasons, Georgiev has posted a .913 save percentage (in all situations) and 3.00 goals-against average. The Rangers haven’t been a great defensive team during that time, including this season. Only 10 goalies (minimum 500 minutes) faced a higher rate of expected goals than Georgiev in 2019-20, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Two of them were his Rangers crease-mates. Dell and Jones were not among the other eight.

Despite that, Georgiev has posted a .918 5-on-5 save percentage in parts of three seasons with the Rangers. That’s by no means elite, but the Sharks don’t necessarily need elite goaltending to get back into playoff contention, nor can San Jose expect to emerge from the cellar of the Western Conference just by addressing its goaltending woes.

Still, Georgiev represents a realistically attainable upgrade in net. The Rangers will get interest around the league, but the Sharks’ second-round pick would be only a handful of spots away from the first round. New York doesn’t currently have a second-round pick, and San Jose’s selection would give the Rangers additional flexibility. Signing Georgiev to an extension won’t break the bank, either, considering this season was the last on his entry-level contract.

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Even if the Bulgarian-born Russian doesn’t prove capable of being an out-and-out No. 1 netminder, he can platoon with Jones, whose contract ($5.75 million cap hit through 2024) and modified no-trade clause makes him unlikely to go anywhere. Jones would benefit from a reduced workload, and Georgiev is capable of pushing him. That’s worth the price of a second-rounder.

Dell is due for unrestricted free agency this offseason, so the Sharks likely wouldn’t have a three-headed monster of their own if they traded for Georgiev. He alone won’t fix all that ails the Sharks, but Georgiev would help where they need it most.

That potential peace of mind can’t be underestimated heading into the Sharks’ most critical offseason in recent memory.

Brent Burns' 2017 OT winner vs. Rangers could've meant more to Sharks


Brent Burns' 2017 OT winner vs. Rangers could've meant more to Sharks

Programming note: Relive Brent Burns' overtime winner against the New York Rangers from 2017 when NBC Sports California re-airs the classic game on Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m.

It could have been a turning-point moment in the 2016-17 Sharks' season.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer's club entered the March 28, 2017 game against the New York Rangers at SAP Center having lost six consecutive games. With the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the horizon, DeBoer knew the Sharks needed to get back to playing their brand of hockey if they were going to make any noise in the postseason.

The Sharks raced out to a 3-1 lead thanks to goals from Jannik Hansen, Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney. With Martin Jones recording several quality saves through the first period-and-a-half, the Sharks looked to be well on their way to an easy win.

But the Rangers came storming back, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead and quiet what had been a raucous SAP Center. With a seventh straight loss barrelling toward them, the Sharks dug deep to snap their losing streak. Tierney scored his second goal of the game at 17:45 in the third period, tying the game and sending the contest to OT.

That's when Brent Burns, amid a 16-game goal-scoring drought, one-timed a pass from Joe Pavelski past Henrik Lundqvist to put the Sharks back in the win column.

“We needed a win. That’s the bottom line. We needed a win, whatever it looked like,” DeBoer said after the win. “I’m glad it looked the way it did because I thought we strung some really good stretches where I thought we looked like we should look.

“The fact we won and got that monkey off our back and how we won and how we looked for long periods makes me feel good about it.”

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Burns lighting the lamp in OT to snap a dreaded six-game losing streak should have been the catalyst for something bigger. The Sharks' forward depth was on full display that night and they were expecting to get Logan Couture back in the coming days. Unfortunately for the 2017 Sharks, the feeling was short-lived. Their inconsistent play continued to hamper them down the stretch. The Sharks finished the season 3-3 and then lost to the Edmonton Oilers in six games in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nevertheless, it's certainly a game that's worth re-living during these unprecedented times.

Remembering how Sharks' Tomas Hertl brought the fun as a 19-year-old

Remembering how Sharks' Tomas Hertl brought the fun as a 19-year-old

It feels like years, but it's barely been a month since Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk went in between his legs for a highlight-reel goal against the Sharks back on Feb. 10. It was so spectacular, even the San Jose broadcasters couldn't help but be in awe. Of course, it wasn't the first time they had seen something like that.

It would have been difficult for Sharks forward Tomas Hertl to get off to a better start to his NHL career than he did as a rookie during the 2013-14 season. In the first game of the season, he got the primary assist on San Jose's first goal of the campaign. Two nights later, he notched the first two goals of his career. Three points in your first two games? Pretty good.

He wasn't done. Hertl more than doubled his career point total in the next game alone.

Not one. Not two. Not three. Four. Four goals in his third career NHL game. And Hertl saved the best for last.

Already with a hat-trick, Hertl received a pass at the New York Rangers' blue line and entered the offensive zone at a high rate of speed. Without slowing down, he deftly maneuvered the puck in between his legs just before roofing it into the top of the net to give San Jose an 8-2 lead in the third period. Rangers backup goaltender Martin Biron didn't know what hit him.

With his fourth goal of the night, Hertl became the youngest NHL player (19 years, 330 days old) to record a four-goal game since Jimmy Carson (19 years, 254 days old) did it during the 1987-88 season. Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews have since accomplished the feat at a younger age.

Still, not bad for a 19-year-old, right?

Hertl has scored 126 additional goals since his coming-out-party that night against the Rangers, but never once has he tallied four in a single game. Multiple knee surgeries have slowed him down, but they've never diminished the personality of a player who once famously said, "Fun must be always."

As we all know, this is not a fun time right now. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is being felt all around the globe, including the sports world. With the NHL season indefinitely paused, Hertl and the Sharks don't have any upcoming games in which they can generate joy for their fans. So, we're going to make it work another way.

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At 8 p.m. tonight, Hertl's four-goal game will be shown in its entirety on NBC Sports California. The Sharks ultimately won 9-2, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Sharks fans to jump out of their seats.

In these trying and unprecedented times, there isn't a better Sharks player to focus on than Hertl. We might not be able to have fun "always" right now, but at the very least, we can tonight.