Rangers’ Shesterkin Sees Hughes as Toughest Opponent


Igor Shesterkin is well among the many biggest lively goaltenders, if not the best. The Russian famous person netminder has posted a .924 save share (SV%) in his 4 NHL seasons up to now. In 2022, he received the Vezina Trophy and completed third in MVP voting as he propelled the New York Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final. 

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Every superhero has their Achilles’ heel although, and it seems that Shesterkin’s is none apart from Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils. If you aren’t satisfied, take it from the person himself, who confirmed it in a current interview with Russian media outlet Hockeyonkp:

Reporter: “Who is the toughest player to play against?”

Shesterkin: “That’s a hard question…in every team there’s 1-2 players who are really difficult. Right now, I’d probably say Hughes.”

through Hockeyonkp (Translated from Russian)

Hughes at the moment stands second amongst lively gamers with eight profession objectives in opposition to Shesterkin. Jake Guentzel is first with 10. However, seven of Hughes’ objectives have been scored throughout this previous season, as he regularly discovered other ways to maintain Shesterkin off-balance and guessing.

Sure, there could also be some recency bias from Shesterkin after giving up three objectives to Hughes within the playoffs and getting eliminated by the Devils in seven video games. But you don’t beat a goalie like him seven occasions in a season accidentally. Hughes has him totally found out.

Hughes Is Keeping Him Guessing

Hughes discovered a mess of how to attain on Shesterkin this previous season. Here they’re:

Nov. 28, 2022: Hughes took an alley-oop move from Dawson Mercer in excellent stride, blew previous Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren, and shortly beat Shesterkin five-hole on his forehand.

Dec. 12, 2022: Hughes sped via the impartial zone to create a 2-on-1 scenario with Erik Haula. He confirmed off his elite fingers, deking Shesterkin into pondering a move was coming earlier than opting to go together with an ideal backhand over the glove. 

Jan. 7, 2023: A blind move from Barclay Goodrow landed proper on the stick of Hughes, who break up each defenders (Ben Harpur and Braden Schneider) earlier than going forehand and prime shelf over the glove.

Jan. 7, 2023: A rebound from a Ryan Graves slapshot bounced proper out to Hughes, who wasted little time and instantly one-timed it previous a sliding Shesterkin.

April 18, 2023: On a penalty shot, Hughes began broad and shortly got here again in earlier than unleashing a wrist shot at lightning velocity, which beat Shesterkin between his pad and blocker.

Related: Devils/Rangers Rivalry Will Be Must-Watch This Season

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April 22, 2023: This time on the powerplay, Hughes circled round and obtained a move from Dougie Hamilton earlier than skating to only above the faceoff dot, beating Shesterkin top-shelf with a depraved wrist shot.

April 24, 2023: Hughes obtained one other alley-oop move in excellent stride, sending him in on a breakaway. He deked, then went to his forehand, then his backhand, then to his forehand as soon as extra – leaving Shesterkin fully unraveled and a wide-open internet to bury it.

More Success for Hughes Coming

Hughes has established himself now as an elite playmaker as effectively as a goalscorer within the NHL. With silky clean fingers and a fast wrist shot, goalies by no means actually know what’s coming subsequent from the 22-year-old phenom. 

The undeniable fact that not one in every of these objectives was scored in the identical method units the stage for Hughes’ future success in opposition to Shesterkin. When Hughes is streaking down the ice, a goaltender whose been overwhelmed by him as a lot as Shesterkin has to primarily play a guessing recreation somewhat than strategizing. No matter the angle or distance, Hughes has proven that he can rating in any trend from wherever. And that’s the reason Shesterkin has such a troublesome time with him.

The Devils and Rangers have now re-established their fierce rivalry, which means the duo will proceed to face one another with some huge stakes. During the 2023-24 season, it can actually be a storyline to observe: Will Shesterkin refocus and get the higher of Hughes – or will extra of the identical happen?

Regardless, Hughes ought to take it as an immense praise that one of many biggest netminders within the NHL considers him their hardest opponent. The Devils have a famous person on their fingers.

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