The situation in goal for the New York Rangers just took a hit, with goalie Ondrej Pavelec out two to three weeks with a sprained MCL.
Pavelec is the backup netminder in New York, but he was named the starter as recently as Friday. He’s had just 10 starts this season and appeared in 16 games for a 4-7-1 record. The 30-year-old has a goals against average of 3.01 and a save percentage of .910. He also has a shutout.
Those numbers aren’t exactly sterling, but life hasn’t exactly been grand in the New York net. Henrik Lundqvist has also struggled this season.
The issue here is that Pavelec was set to be an unrestricted free agent at the close of the season, which puts general manager Jeff Gorton in a bit of a pickle with the trade deadline approaching. There were some rumours that the Kladno native was available as a bargaining chip, but this injury could hurt the bottom line.
The Rangers signed Pavelec in the summer and he hasn’t really panned out on Broadway.
New York is 26-24-5 this season, good for last place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re three points behind the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets in the division and five points ahead of the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference.
In other words, things aren’t going according to plan.
And believe me, the injury to Pavelec won’t make or break this team’s playoff chances. The biggest impact will be on the trade market, which is where the Rangers may have to give up more than they wanted to obtain valuable backup netminding for Lundqvist.
For now, Alexander Georgiev has been brought in from Hartford. He’s 12-11-6 with the Wolf Pack and boasts a goals against average of 2.97.
Two days ago, the Rangers placed Brendan Smith on waivers. He cleared and was sent to Hartford in the AHL.
Also, forward Rick Nash supplied the team with a “no-trade list” a few days ago and appears to be a critical bargaining chip.
New York will face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday afternoon.