With pucks set to drop in just a few short weeks, many questions will arise going into an abbreviated training camp. One of the biggest questions about the Rangers roster specifically is, just how much should we expect to see Martin Biron this season?
In two full seasons with the Rangers, Martin Biron has played in 17 and 21 games, or 20% and 26% of the season. This year will be different.
On one hand, a reduced amount of games obviously gives guys a chance to rest both physically and mentally. After all, it was Torts who had to convince Lundqvist to start fewer games last season in order to keep the tank full. The result was Hank’s first Vezina. Of course, the other side of the equation is losing a step.
Anyone who’s played a sport before knows that such a big part of the game is timing and getting into a rhythm. With a truncated training camp and a compressed schedule, some players will no doubt be off. Perhaps no position relies more on timing and rhythm than the position of NHL goaltender.
During the lockout shortened season of 1994-95, starting goaltenders averaged 34 games played, with the top dogs playing about 40. Since goalie usage hasn’t changed much over the last 2 decades, figure those numbers will be comparable.
If the season ends up being 48 games, my guess is that Biron plays in another 25% of them, or around 12 games. This will leave Hank with 36 games to work with, which is about 6 games more than he would have played over the same stretch last season, depending on the start date.
While I fully expect Lundqvist and Biron to be as good as they were last year, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the league’s goaltenders fair. Will there be a noticeable difference between veterans and younger goalies? Will guys who played overseas the last few months be better than those who stayed home? Too many questions and no clear answers.
At the end of the day, no one is going to have time to settle in. There will be no grace period or much of a chance for a cold streak. With Biron likely to play in such a small amount of games, consider that last point exacerbated.