Igor Shesterkin of Rangers wins the Vezina Cup

The handover from Henrik Lundqvist to Igor Shesterkin in the elite rangers mantle of goalkeepers has been completed.

At Tuesday night’s NHL Awards in Tampa, Florida, Shesterkin was named the first goalkeeper since King Henrik to win the Vezina Cup, repeating Lundqvist’s 2011-12 achievement to be officially recognized as the best NHL goalkeeper after a historic season.

Chesterkin lifted Rangers to their first playoff appearance since 2017 with 36 regular season wins. They went on to make the conference final before losing to the Lightning in six matches. He set a franchise record with a keeping percentage of 0.935, which was also the third highest mark in league history among goalkeepers with over 50 starts. He also led the league by scoring 2.07 goals against average, 44.9 goals saved above average and 2.11 goals scored against average, according to the hockey reference.

The 26-year-old Chesterkin beat Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom and Nashville’s Jos Sarros for the award, receiving 29 of 32 first-place votes from the NHL General Managers’ Voting Committee. He is the sixth Rangers goalkeeper to win the Fisina title after Lundqvist, John Vanbisbrück, Eddie Giaccomin, Gil Fillmore and Dave Kerr.

Igor Shesterkin
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Shesterkin used his letter to thank his support network – including his teammates and goal coach Benoit Allaire, his parents and wife Anna. Referring to Anna’s absence, he added that she could not be in Tampa with him because the couple was expecting a child.

“For the entire organization of the Rangers, it was amazing to be part of the Rangers family,” Chesterkin said. “To my friends, I would like to thank all Rangers fans. It was a dream to play [in the] NHL, to play ahead of you in MSG. Incredible feelings. “

When a Lundqvist jersey was hoisted to the rafters at Madison Square Garden in January, Shesterkin set out to write his Rangers legacy in his first 82 game season as the team’s starter. Aside from two first-round drawbacks against Pittsburgh, Shesterkin started and finished all of the Rangers’ 20 playoff games, with a 0.936 save percentage from Game 5 against the Penguins onwards.

“They say Igor, I just say well,” Shesterkin memorably said of the Penguin fans chanting his name.

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Igor Cherterkin of Rangers is the winner of the 2022 FIFA Vienna Cup.
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After the season ended, Shesterkin returned to the topic.

The next team, the next Carolina fans tried to do the same [chant]but it doesn’t work for me,” he said. “I think it helped me more focus on the match.”

He joked at the time that he was unlikely to win the Hart Cup alongside Auston Matthews or Conor McDavid. He ended up being right, failing to get the MVP award, which Matthews won from Toronto.

“They are great players,” Chesterkin said. “But I didn’t let Matthews score for me, I’m happy. I didn’t play against McDavid but every day I watched the top players and the best players. How many did he do? [Matthews] result? 60? That was great.”

However, Shesterkin has been in a class with them this season. According to MoneyPuck’s saved above-expected goal scale, Shesterkin’s 34.1 GSAx was the most in the league despite playing 10 games less in the regular season than second-placed Andrei Vasilevskiy.

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Vezina Prize Winner Igor Shesterkin
NHLI via Getty Images

“I always try [be at] My best, but when I lose, every time I only think about goals and I know I can stop [them],” said Shesterkin, shortly after the season ended, his mind still focused on losing Game Six to Tampa Bay. “It doesn’t matter what happened. You gave up a really easy goal in the last game. So I can’t do that when we have an exhibition game.

“I always say I can play better. I can say it again, I can play better.”

Just two days after that defeat, Chesterkin said he plans to rest for two weeks, and then start working again. Even at that moment, he had some gratitude for the season that was.

“I would like to thank Rangers fans and fans everywhere,” Chesterkin said. “They helped me a lot. You never know what will happen, but when I give up on a goal and everything [the crowd] They chant my name, I’m just standing there trying to hold my breath for this city, for these people.”

All season long, he’d hear those chants louder and louder until the end.

“Everyone knows my name,” he joked on the day of parting.

If they didn’t do it before, they definitely do now.

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