— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 20, 2018
Dustin Tokarski Signs With Rangers
While Alexandar Georgiev projects to be the clear-cut backup goaltender in New York, his 10 starts aren’t reassuring enough. In case the 22-year-old still needs more time to hone his skills, the Rangers newest acquisition will serve as a suitable backup plan. Dustin Tokarski will likely find himself with the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack. He and Marek Mazanec are going to be on call should Georgiev find himself struggling.
Dustin Tokarski was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. He only started seven games in 2009 and 2011 for the Bolts. Most of his professional career at that point was spent with their AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals and later the Syracuse Crunch. His 32 wins in 2011-12 were good enough to lead the Admirals to the playoffs and eventually win the Calder Cup Championship.
Tokarski has made a name for himself, particularly in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers. The Montreal Canadiens looked to him when Carey Price was injured in Game One. He and Lundqvist put on a show in a fierce goalie battle. Eventually, the Rangers, led by Martin St. Louis, bested Montreal in six games.
Since his surprising showcase of skill, Tokarski spent two more seasons with the Canadiens. He started 17 games in 2014-15 after Price strained a ligament in his knee and was sidelined for several weeks. Over that span, he went 6-6-4 with a .910 save percentage and 2.75 goals against average. Starting only seven games afterward, six were with the Habs the following year and one was for the Anaheim Ducks in 2016.
Tokarski has since split time between the San Diego Gulls and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, both in the AHL. Last season’s numbers provide hope that Tokarski will fit in with the Wolfpack. Over the course of 39 stars with the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate, he had a respectable 2.65 SV% and .915 GAA. He went 20-8-7 with five shutouts. The 6’0 netminder led the Phantoms to the Calder Cup playoffs but took a backseat to the fellow goalie, Alex Lyon.
In Hartford, Tokarski will have to battle with Mazanec for the starting position but provides good depth, nonetheless. Chris Nell and Brandon Halverson have been struggling mightily at the AHL level, and will likely report back to the ECHL. The 28-year-old joining eases pressure not only on Mazanec but on Georgiev’s development so he no longer has to play in the NHL due to the lack of a replacement should he flounder. It does mean, however, that he will have to prove his worth for a follow-up contract for the coming seasons.
The Rangers have a large influx of goalies developing and getting ready to wear the iconic blue jersey. Most anticipated is Igor Shestyorkin currently playing in the KHL. There are also young netminders such as recent draftee Olof Lindblom in the SHL, Adam Huska, and Tyler Wall both within the NCAA. There’s no shortage of goalie depth for Hartford’s general manager, Chris Drury, to select from over the next few years.
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