Forecasting Biron’s role in a lockout shortened season

January 8, 2013, by
Martin Biron will play a critical role this year.

Martin Biron will play a critical role this year.

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┬áVezina. 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.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Marc Weissman says:

    In all seriousness, would not surprise me one bit to see Hank play all 48 + playoffs. Doubt that will happen, of course, but my point is that Marty will see, at most, single digit games.

    Hank historically has had slow starts, with the exception of last season, so the lack of an October – January stretch for him to get into a mid-season groove means he will need more consecutive games to be in top form come the spring.

    Just watch Torts ride him like a Swedish thoroughbred. ­čÖé

    • Chris says:

      Hank had his best season when he got plenty of rest. There is no way in hell he starts every game. Not with such a reliable back up to boot. He’ll play no more than 40 games, if that. Obviously come playoff time you ride the starter.

      Too much game time could lead to a groin injury for a goaltender especially. This team does not need Hank missing any stretch of time. At all.

  2. Walt says:

    I can see Hank play some 35 to 40 games, no more than that!

    Biron will do what he can to be a force for our team, but bottom line, we live, and die with Hank!!!!!

  3. Matt Josephs says:

    We absolutely need Biron to be at his best. There’s going to be a lot of back to back games, lots of 3 games in 4 nights, and a lot of games in a short period of time in general. I think Henrik is amped to play in all the games he can, but pushing him to play 38 or more regular season games is ludicrous.

    Henrik was at his best last year because he was rested and the team paced him. Never forget the end of the 2010-11 season when the team needed him to play the last 25 games of the regular season to make the playoffs (Biron was also injured at the time). By the end the marathon was over Lundqvist looked completely out of gas.

    It’s important the team limits him in the regular season because it’s the playoffs that matter anyway.

  4. Dave says:

    It wouldn’t shock me to see Biron get 15 games honestly. There are a lot of back-to-backs and three-in-fours that are going to be an issue this year.

  5. SalMerc says:

    I agree with Dave and Matt. Lots of 3 in 4 nights so Biron may actually get 12-14 games. We need to put more pucks in the net so the pressure is lessened off of each goalie.

  6. charles fishman says:

    I do not think much of Biron as a back-up, evid-
    ence his five-hole turning into the Grand Canyon
    furing shootouts. I think signing then free agent Al Montoya would have been a less expensive and better option.


    • The Suit says:

      The summer we signed Biron, Montoya was coming off a 14 AHL game season. Not exactly your ideal choice to back up The King.

  7. MBN says:

    48 games in roughly 12 weeks averages 4 games a week. No way Hank plays anywhere above 40 games. Marty is going to be used at least once a week. 12-14 sounds like his workload.

  8. rickyrants13 says:

    He will get most of his games early as Hank and the team get their legs under them.

  9. rob sahm says:

    biron rules love that guy