The hope from the Rangers is that they didn’t see the best of Dustin Tokarski four years ago.
The Blueshirts signed the 28-year-old goalie to a one-year, two-way deal on Monday, worth $650,000 in the NHL and $250,000 in the AHL, with $275,000 guaranteed. Tokarski comes in with the possibility to compete with Alex Georgiev for the role as backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Tokarski has bounced around since his time as the Canadiens’ short-lived savior, having replaced the injured Carey Price in the 2014 Eastern Conference final against the Rangers.
The Canadiens traded him to the Ducks in 2016, and the Ducks traded him to the Flyers in 2017. He has played in only seven NHL games since that one playoff series — only one in the past three seasons — spending most of the past three years with teams in the AHL.
But it has to be difficult for Rangers fans to forget what Tokarski did in the spring of 2014, when Price was hurt in Game 1 after being barreled into by Chris Kreider. Of course, that collision caused then-Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien to call Kreider a “repeat offender” in terms of running into goalies, and it ramped up the animosity between the two teams for the rest of a memorable series that ended with a Rangers victory in Game 6.
In place of Price, Tokarski made 35 saves in a Game 3 overtime win for the Habs, and even stopped 31-of-32 shots in Game 6, when the Rangers wrapped up the series victory with the lone goal coming on a Dominic Moore breakaway. In the five games he played in that series, Tokarski had a .916 save percentage.
Overall, Tokarski has played 34 regular-season NHL games in his career since being drafted by the Lightning in the fifth round (No. 122 overall) in 2008. The Watson, Saskatchewan, native has a career a .904 save percentage and 2.84 goals-against average.
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