Hartnett: Rangers Will Need ‘The Goalie Whisperer’ To Do His Thing Again

By Sean Hartnett
» Extra Columns

Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire has a knack for summoning the perfect out of gamers.

The St. Janvier, Quebec native has served as an assistant coach with the Blueshirts because the summer time of 2004. Alongside the best way, he has performed an element in elevating the play of franchise netminder Henrik Lundqvist and has helped information backups Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta on the trail to turning into prized starters for the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes, respectively.

Allaire’s newest problem would be the reclamation challenge that’s Ondrej Pavelec, who’s slated to function Lundqvist’s backup subsequent season after signing a one-yr, $1.three million free agent contract on July 1. The 29-yr-previous Czech netminder endured an damage-plagued 2016-17 season, as he was restricted to eight NHL video games with the Winnipeg Jets as a consequence of leg, knee, and concussion troubles. He additionally suited up for 18 video games for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

Ondrej Pavelec

Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, left, blocks a shot in the course of the third interval towards the Stars on Feb. 2, 2017 in Dallas. (Photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Photographs)

Again in 2014-15, Pavelec loved his best season. He appeared in 50 video games for the Jets, going 22-sixteen-eight with a 2.28 objectives-towards common and a .920 save proportion.

If there’s any coach who can push Pavelec again to these heights, it’s in all probability Allaire.

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The Rangers will want Pavelec to play an honest quantity of video games through the 2017-18 season. Lundqvist appeared in simply fifty seven final season due partially to lacking two weeks in March due to a hip damage. He then sustained a left knee damage whereas serving to Sweden to the gold medal at this summer time’s IIHF World Championship. Although Lundqvist is predicted to make a full restoration earlier than coaching camp, it’s potential that the wear and tear and tear of age might trigger the Rangers to be extra cautious together with his workload. Lundqvist will flip 36 subsequent March.

One issue that would hold Lundqvist recent is the Rangers enjoying simply eleven again-to-again units subsequent season. That’s the fewest amongst all Japanese Convention groups. The heaviest a part of the schedule is available in March, when the Blueshirts will play 15 video games.

It’s possible that at that time of the season Pavelec might want to function a succesful understudy. He holds a .907 profession save proportion and has completed above .914 twice in 10 seasons.

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