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Igor Shesterkin, Rangers' top goalie prospect, has wits about him at development camp

Rangers goalie #31 Igor Shesterkin looks on during

Rangers goalie #31 Igor Shesterkin looks on during the team's annual prospect development camp on Monday, June 24, 2019. Photo Credit: Howard Simmons

STAMFORD, Conn. — Even speaking through an interpreter, as he was Monday, this much was clear: Igor Shesterkin has some personality.

In his first interview with the media that cover the Rangers on a daily basis, Shesterkin — with Rangers director of scouting Nick Bobrov serving as his translator — cracked jokes left and right after his first on-ice appearance in a Rangers jersey during the first day of the team’s prospect development camp.

“It’s always interesting to see new players, but there are a lot of them, so I didn’t have a chance to get to know all of them,’’ Shesterkin said. “I got a couple of shots to the head, so we have some work to do.’’

Shesterkin is one of 37 prospects attending the camp this week at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. Kaapo Kakko, whom the Rangers selected Friday in Vancouver with the No. 2 overall selection in the NHL Draft, is at the camp, as are all three of their 2018 first-round picks — Vitali Kravtsov, K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist — and defenseman Adam Fox, the Jericho native they acquired from Carolina in an April trade.

“It was so nice,’’ Kakko said of New York City, which he is visiting for the first time. “I was walking downtown [Sunday] night, and it was so big and nice.’’

Kakko, 18, a 6-2, 194-pound right wing who scored 22 goals in 45 games for TPS in Finland’s top professional league before helping Finland win gold at the World Championships, said “my next goal is to play in the NHL next season, adding, “it feels so good’’ to wear a Rangers jersey.

According to general manager Jeff Gorton, several prospects at the camp are expected to have a chance to make the Rangers out of training camp in the fall. Kakko, Kravtsov and Fox certainly are in that group. Shesterkin, too, according to Gorton.

“I think he’s coming here to try and make [the Rangers],’’ he said. “I’m not going to be in someone’s way and tell him, ‘You have no chance to make our team.’ .  .  . We’ll let that work itself out when training camp comes around.’’

Shesterkin, 23, spent the last three seasons in the KHL, playing for SKA St. Petersburg, and put up monster numbers, including a 1.11 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in 2018-19.

Shesterkin will battle with his idol, Henrik Lundqvist, and fellow Russian Alexandar Georgiev for a spot on the roster, but he wouldn’t make any bold statements about whether he thinks he belongs in the NHL right away.

“I will do everything I can to play as well as I can, and then it will be up to the coaching staff to see where I fit,’’ said Shesterkin, who wore No. 30 in Russia but was assigned No. 31 for the camp.

He was asked if he believes he can be the successor to Lundqvist.

“Right now, I just want to prove how I play the game. That I could be,’’ he said. “But I have a long way to go to prove that.

“I need to get a lot stronger. Kaapo said he needs to get a lot stronger, and look at him! So I have a long way to go.’’

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