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Trade: Avalanche acquire Alexandar Georgiev from Rangers for draft picks

Alexandar Georgiev Trade Colorado Avalanche New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 27: New York Rangers Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) makes a stick save during the third period of the National Hockey League game between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Rangers on February 27, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It has seemed inevitable for a while now that the New York Rangers were going to have to trade goalie Alexandar Georgiev.

On Thursday, they did.

The Rangers sent Georgiev to the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round draft pick and a 2023 third-round draft pick.

With Igor Shesterkin locked in as the Rangers’ franchise goalie, and Georgiev’s ceiling being higher than a backup, a trade always seemed to be the most logical result here, especially as Georgiev was headed for restricted free agency this offseason and in need of a new contract. With the Rangers pushed to the cap and having several key unrestricted free agents to sign, it was simply a matter of when and where as opposed to if Georgiev would be on the move.

Georgiev is coming off a 2021-22 season that saw him appear in 33 games for the Rangers, finishing with an .898 save percentage.

For his career he has a .908 save percentage in 129 career games over five seasons with the Rangers.

[Related: Avalanche offseason questions: Injuries, salary cap, free agents]

The addition of Georgiev also makes it seem likely that Colorado will be parting ways with 2021-22 starter Darcy Kuemper. The Avalanche acquired Kuemper from Arizona prior to this past season for a first-round pick and defenseman Connor Timmins. Kuemper had an outstanding regular season in Colorado but struggled in the playoffs while dealing with some injury issues. Even with the inconsistent postseason, he is still good enough to land a significant contract in free agency and was almost certainly out of Colorado’s price range given the other free agents Colorado would still like to re-sign (or replace).

Will Georgiev be a suitable replacement?

His current NHL resume does not really jump off the page from a numbers standpoint, but the talent is there and he is also going to the absolute best situation a goalie could hope for in the NHL. Colorado boasts the league’s best defense with Cale Makar, Samuel Girard, Bowen Byram, Devon Toews, and Erik Johnson and will do an excellent job protecting any goalie that plays behind them. Kuemper, Pavel Francouz, and Philipp Grubauer (before signing with Seattle this past offseason) have all managed to post strong numbers playing behind that blue line, with Grubauer even finishing in the top-three of the 2021 Vezina Trophy voting.

The Rangers were the exact opposite of that for goalies the past two seasons in their defensive play.