It was a secret to no one the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was disappointed in his play last season.
Even though he finished among the top five goaltenders who made at least 50 starts in the NHL in wins (37), save percentage (.916) and goals against (2.48), Shesterkin was comparing his performance to that from his Vezina Trophy-winning season in 2021-22, when he put together a historic campaign.
Last season will motivate him, the Rangers’ No. 1 netminder said, but he’s put it in the past.
“I just want to be positive every day right now,” he said without the help of a translator. “Because last season I was so mad [at] myself because I didn’t play like I want. I think you remember how I was every practice. So mad. I didn’t want to talk too much to anybody except my family.”
His drop-off from one season to the next clearly weighed on him as the season progressed, which manifested into immense frustration.
When he mentioned his behavior in practices, he was referring to how he often slammed his stick after giving up a goal and the general tense vibe he carried with him onto the ice.
But Shesterkin appeared to be lighter on Thursday, as one would expect to be so early on in training camp.
The 27-year-old Russian said he worked on his brain this offseason, so his hope is that it’ll help him stay positive.
“He’s a player,” new Rangers backup Jonathan Quick said of Shesterkin. “Obviously, got to play against him a few times over the past five years. To see the work he puts in and his competitiveness day in and day out, it’s fun.”
Shesterkin started in 58 of 82 regular-season games last season, while the Rangers’ former No. 2 goalie, Jaroslav Halak, handled 25 games.
The expectation is that it will be a similar split of the workload between Shesterkin and Quick this season.
“When it comes to decisions with regard to practices or what we’re doing in practice or if it comes to who’s starting and how many games they play and when it comes to communication with the goaltender, everything goes through me,” Laviolette said. “If there’s a decision to be made on a starting goalie, while I will consult and confer — I’m an inclusive coach, I like to sit with my coaches and talk and collaborate and find out what’s best for the team — there’s often times where something comes up and the room could be split on what to do. That decision comes back to me.”
The Rangers invited goalie Brad Arvanitis to training camp on a professional tryout, the team announced Thursday.
Arvanitits played 20 games for the Pensacola Ice Flyers in the Southern Professional Hockey League and one game for the Wichita Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League last season.
He has not yet played in the NHL.
The Rangers’ coaching staff went on a bonding trip before the start of training camp.
“We made a point to go spend a few days together to get to know each other and even the spouses,” Laviolette said. “We talk hockey all day long and then we went out to dinner and I get a chance to sit next to [director of goaltending Benoit Allair] and Benny’s wife.”
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