This past offseason Glen Sather kept this roster pretty much intact in hopes that Alain Vineault and his new coaching staff would be the difference makers to get this team over the hump. With that said, any time a team changes coaches there’s always going to be some roster turnover that follows.
At this point we don’t know what system AV has in store for the Rangers, though Nash vaguely remarked “defense first” which obviously can mean a lot of different things and Girardi mentioned “four man rushes, same as Torts”. However, we do know that AV has a starkly different personality than Torts and will certainly bring a different approach to dealing with his players one-on-one. More often than not, it’s personalities and TOI that generally cause players and coaches to gel or jive, not the x’s and o’s. After all, most players at this level can adapt to different systems and formations.
So turnover is inevitable. And to think that every current Ranger is going to fit is a bit naive.
While I expected some guys to be moved a bit more into the season, perhaps the process has already begun. Martin Biron missed a couple of days due to a “personal situation,” which sounded harmless at the time until AV revealed a lack of confidence in him during a post-camp practice. AV elaborated,
“We need a backup goaltender that can play and win us some games. That’s part of the equation to get into the playoffs, and to have a (number one) goaltender that come playoff time has got some energy and some jump in his legs. Martin is aware of that—we had that discussion when he first got here. And if we brought in Hedberg, it’s obviously to give him a chance.”
AV went on to say that he’s looking for a backup goalie who can play 15-20 games. The last time there was an 82 game season Biron appeared in 21 of them, posting a 12-6-2 record. While I expect Biron to win the job over a 40 year old Hedberg, it’s still interesting that AV is even considering Hedberg over Marty given Biron’s solid career as a Ranger.
But this is what happens and Marty won’t be the last guy to find himself on the fringe. Minutes are going to be shifted, roles are going to change and some of these guys aren’t going to like it. The question is, will the fans be able to handle turnover?
Fans often fear change and we know who they usually point fingers at when things don’t go as planned. But give it time. There’s a learning curve for all of us and it’s going to be a process. Let’s see that process through.