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Rangers final grades: Goaltending

The plan for this lock-out shortened season was to be able to keep Hank in a rhythm, but to also make sure he was well rested for what should be a long playoff run.  As we all know, things rarely go according to plan, and the Rangers ended up using Henrik for 43 of the 48 regular season games this year.  We projected at the beginning of the campaign that Marty Biron should start about 12 games in order to give Hank the appropriate amount of rest.  He played in 5.

This was the result of inconsistent production, down years for key offensive players, a lack of depth, and no training camp when almost half of last year’s forward crop turned over.  With a playoff spot requiring almost every regular season game to lock up, playing Biron was a luxury the Blueshirts couldn’t afford.  Let’s see how the keepers’ performances grade out this season… 

Henrik Lundqvist

While the workload bestowed upon our fair King was far greater than any had intended, it was not reflected in his performance.  After a slow start to the abbreviated season, Hank thrived playing every game after March 30th.  His final regular season numbers were solid as ever; winning 24 games with a 2.05 GAA and a .926 sv%, good enough for yet another Vezina nomination.

At 31 years old, Hank is firmly in his prime and his numbers the past few seasons have bore that out.  He remains and will continue to remain the backbone of this Ranger team as the window of contention opens fully.  However, as we saw early in the year, the lack of consistent ice time and game action hampered Lundqvist in the first part of the season.  It took him several weeks to really gain any traction with regard to his consistent high level of play.  While the scorching hot end of the season got his numbers to where they needed to be, had Hank been in top form right from the starting gun, the Rangers could have stolen a few of those early season losses.

While I have absolutely no concerns about Hank going forward, the seemingly unprepared nature of his play to start the year dings his final grade a bit.  B+

Marty Biron

As mentioned before, Marty didn’t really receive enough playing time for a meaningful evaluation of his year.  His numbers were good (in an admittedly small sample size) at 2.32 GAA and .917 sv%, and his quality of play passes the eye test.  Instead of giving Marty a C+ or B- that doesn’t truly reflect the quality of his play, I’m going to go…INC

Conclusion

At the moment, the Rangers’ goaltending situation is a touchy subject.  Hank’s willingness (or unwillingness) to commit long-term has bled over into the search for the next bench boss and potential off-season moves.  There will continue to be much hand-wringing until the situation resolves itself and our once and future King is locked up until the end of his career.  With regard to Marty, he will have one more full season with the team that the organization will need to use to evaluate it’s goaltending depth.  For as long as I can remember, losing Hank for any extended period of time would be a death-knell to the season.  Although the Rangers are thin on draft picks this year, drafting a tender is looking more like a necessity than a luxury.  Or maybe Slats should start scouring the un-drafted free agent market for some later bloomers, even if Marty stays beyond this coming season.  As Hank’s contract situation has shown us, you can never have too much goaltending.

8 Responses to “Rangers final grades: Goaltending”

  1. TxRanger says:

    As much as I love Hank, I think when it comes down to it, I think he gets away with being Roberto Luongo. He has to take some blame when we lose. I’m tired of hearing that it’s everyone else’s fault we got eliminated. It’s everyone’s fault, that includes the “world class” goalie.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      ^Boo this man. Luongo had the following record in the 2011 SCF:

      Gm 1: Shutout Win
      Gm 2: Win
      Gm 3: Loss (Allowed 8 goals)
      Gm 4: Loss (Pulled after 4 goals on 20 shots)
      Gm 5: Shutout Win
      Gm 6: Loss (Pulled after 3 goals in 3 mins. 1st per)
      Gm 7: Loss (3 goals on 20 shots)

      Luongo Career Playoff stats:
      GP W L GA SA SV SV% GAA SO
      64 32 31 163 1939 1776 .916 2.54 5

      Lundqvist Career Playoff stats:
      GP W L GA SA SV SV% GAA SO
      67 30 37 158 1985 1827 .920 2.28 8

      If you’re talking stats, they’re numbers are close… but as highlighted above, Lundy has NEVER sh!t the bed like Luongo did in 2011 against (and primarily in) Boston. Do you remember this year (2013) in round 1 against Washington where he Shutout WAS in BOTH elimination games? He let in ZERO goals in game 6 AND 7.

      • Justin says:

        I agree. Hank has been the definition of rock solid in his playoff career. One could make the argument that he hasn’t picked the team up by its bootstraps and physically carried them there, but he’s also a defensive player. He can’t score goals, he can’t quarterback a power play; all he can do it stop the puck, and I don’t know what the expectations are of someone who claims he hasn’t done that.

        • Erixon20 says:

          Hank must go into every playoff game thinking that he has to pitch a shutout in order for NYR to win. I don’t think Luongo has ever had that problem. Has to be frustrating to say the least.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          To further your point, if the Rangers had made it over the hump in any recent playoff run, Lundqvist would have been our Conn Smythe favorite.

          • TxRanger says:

            Jeez, I didn’t say he was bad, guys. I just said he needs to be more accountable. Yeah, shut out wins are good, but OT losses and 16 goals against in five games is not how a world class goalie plays in the playoffs.

  2. Chris says:

    The only thing I don’t get about lundqvist, is that for as great as he is the few goals he does let in are oftentimes soft

  3. Chris F says:

    Just got back from vacation, so still trying to catch up on all the news, e.g. Tortorella fired, Callahan and Hagelin surgeries, Lundqvist’s media comments, etc.

    I’m sure this has been discussed here already, but I have a question for the BSB staff.

    Do you guys think that there was tension between Hank and Torts and that his hesitancy to commit to resigning with the Rangers stemmed from this tension? Further, do you think that with the dismissal of Torts, Lundqvist is definitely going to commit to NY, or do you think his level of frustration with the lack of success year after year might push him to consider going elsewhere? He, for example, could lock himself into a Cup were he on Boston or Pittsburgh or Chicago…