Posts tagged: Martin Biron

Quick lineup notes: Asham, Staal, Biron, MDZ

There was a lot going on today in Rangerland, and there may be some significant roster changes for tonight’s game. Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers are dealing with the following injuries/lineup changes:

I think that sums it up at the moment. There’s a lot going on tonight.

Upcoming stretch of games offers opportunity to get Biron some action

Good goalie, a little suspect in shootouts

Good goalie, a little suspect in shootouts

Coming into the lockout shortened year, a consensus emerged that due to the abbreviated schedule, Marty Biron was going to play a major role for the Blueshirts this season.  Back at the beginning of January, The Suit did a great job highlighting this need.  Our sartorially inclined colleague opined that Biron should get at least 12 games this season in order to keep Hank fresh and keep his overall workload reasonable.

So far, this hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.  Due to the slow start the Rangers had to the season, our resident Marty has only appeared in three games so far (once in relief and starts against TB and the Isles, last night).  This puts him on pace to start well under ten games during the regular season.  Obviously not an ideal workload share for a potential long playoff run.

Read more »

Is it time for the Rangers to draft a goaltender?

The King

The Rangers are blessed with the King but shouldn’t assume he’s around forever.

The Rangers are in an enviable situation with Henrik Lundqvist manning their net at an age where he can continue playing at a high level for a long time behind what should be a contender for several seasons. The immediate future in net is bright, but those who think the club should sit back and rest on their laurels should be warned.

The Rangers need to begin seriously thinking about drafting a goalie for the future. Of course, their fingers may be a little burnt and their draft trigger finger a little hesitant given the disappointing outcomes from drafting Al Montoya, Antoine LaFleur, and Scott Stajcer, but the Rangers need to keep an eye on the future. This is made more apparent as current back up Marty Biron (no matter how talented) isn’t exactly a rookie himself either.

Read more »

Forecasting Biron’s role in a lockout shortened season

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 Vezina. Of course, the other side of the equation is losing a step.

Read more »

Would Lundqvist benefit from extra rest or a season in Europe?

During the past few years, the trail of thought was that if the Rangers could find a way to get their All World goaltender extra rest, he would be better prepared for the grind of the playoffs. Last season saw the Rangers finally able to give Henrik Lundqvist extra rest (thanks to a healthy and reliable Martin Biron) and promptly the Rangers made the conference finals; their finest season in years.

It is worth considering whether, during the lockout, if Lundqvist would benefit from an extended break or whether he’d be better off padding up and getting back on the ice. Media reports have recently suggested Lundqvist may head back home to the Swedish Elite League. What is best for Lundqvist however is influenced by the potential length of the lockout, which right now, is like guessing the length of a piece of string.

Read more »

Rangers re-sign Martin Biron

Via Larry Brooks, the Rangers have re-signed backup goalie Martin Biron for two years and $2.6M. The 34-year-old netminder posted a 2.46 GAA and a .904 save percentage in 21 games last year, capably filling in as the club was able to rest Henrik Lundqvist for the stretch drive. Re-signing Biron — or replacing him another solid backup — was a top priority this summer and it’s great to see it addressed in the days leading up to free agency.

To Biron or not to Biron (Part II)

On Monday, we looked at the most likely replacements for the backup goalie position should Marty Biron not be retained.  The first batch of options were the most likely names to get at least a look from the Rangers front office, but this time around, I wanted to look at some of the unconventional choices for the role.  All of these tenders would likely come cheap on short term contracts, always a plus for a role player.  As before, all stats are weighted, two-year composites of the major rate stats.

Without further adieu, my long shots…

Michael Leighton

Stat line: (All stats from Adirondack of the AHL) 86 GP, GAA 2.45, SV% .920

You might remember Michael Leighton from the 2009-2010 playoffs, backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers’ to the Stanley Cup Finals.  (Also, I found it awesome, because Philly made Boston understand what we Yankee fans felt back in ’04).  Outside of that season, where he was thrust into that role due to injuries, he has played the role of journeyman.  He continued this trend of no respect when he resigned with Philadelphia after that Finals run and found himself in the AHL behind Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky (really?).  He was again squeezed out this year with the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov.

Leighton is a UFA this off-season, and while I still prefer Marty, he is an interesting dark horse for me.  I think from a scouting perspective, the 31 year old backstop has the skill set to be a quality second string keeper and I’m sure all it would take is a promise of an NHL job to secure his services.

Like most backups Leighton is fairly solid in all aspects of his game, with no skill really standing out.  Not that he would need the playoff experience playing behind Hank, but it’s always nice to know that he can get hot for an extended period like he did in 2010.  Obviously, Leighton replacing Biron is a long shot, but one of the better possible gambles on the cheap.

Read more »

To Biron or not to Biron (Part I)

On July 1, 2010, Glen Sather went out and secured the solid, veteran backup goalie that Henrik Lundqvist had never known.  For the past two seasons, Marty Biron has been the consummate professional, teammate and role player behind one of the game’s premier workhorses.  It’s no coincidence that Henrik Lundqvist had his strongest playoff performance in a year where he had his lowest regular season workload*.  This July, Biron is once again a UFA, and the question becomes, should he be retained, or should the Rangers look elsewhere for a quality backup?

The reason this post is being split into two parts is that as I was researching all the other possibilities, it kind of took on a life of its own.  Before I knew it I had nine possibilities for the Rangers to examine, plus several more who, while I don’t feel are realistic targets, could end up becoming options due to market conditions and/or salary and playing time demands.  So, in this post, I will make the case for Marty’s retention and then examine what I feel are the most realistic targets based on salary and role.  The second part of the post will have a couple more creative/non-conventional choices and we will see where we end up when the dust settles.  Got that?  Ok, let’s go.

Since Marty has been a Ranger for two seasons, I wanted to normalize the statistical comparisons, so all of the stats that will be referenced are weighted two-year averages of the major evaluating statistics (GP, GAA, SV%) and my own personal scouting reports.

The Case for Biron

Stat line: 38 GP, 2.31 GAA, .912 SV%, 2011-2012 Salary: $875,000

For the most part, we all know the book on Marty.  He is a rock solid backup who fits into the team culture and is completely comfortable in his role within the organization.  He received a relatively modest salary for his services (875k) the past two years, and since he is approaching his 35th birthday, he likely isn’t in line for a significant raise or starting job.

What surprised me in researching UFA goaltenders, is that with one or two exceptions, Marty has significantly better numbers than almost all available alternatives**.   The biggest argument in favor of Marty, assuming his dollar/term requirements are in line with his previous deal, is the old “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” argument.  We know what Marty brings to the table, and the organization and the fans seem to have a comfort level with him.  For a detailed scouting report on Biron, make sure to check out my previous analysis of his style here.

Now, onto some other possibilities… Read more »

Rangers final grades: Goaltending and management

Goaltending this season was a huge factor in both the Rangers regular season and postseason success.  The tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron finished third in the league in goals against during the regular season, behind only the notoriously stingy St. Louis Blues and LA Kings.

In addition to the goalie report cards, I’m also going to break down management.  John Tortorella, Mike Sullivan and Glen Sather have their fingerprints all over this team, so we’ll also take a look at how they performed this season.  Let’s get to it…

Henrik Lundqvist

  • Honestly, at this point, what is there to say about The King that hasn’t already been said?  The presumptive Vezina winner and Hart nominee had an absolutely dominant regular season and a Stanley Cup worthy post-season.  His biggest problem was that the Rangers couldn’t score.
  • Although Hank has always been in the conversation of the league’s elite netminders, this season he cemented himself firmly at the top, along with Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne.  I’ll entertain arguments for any of those guys as the top tender, but for my money, no one can dethrone The King right now.
  • With a final line of: 39 wins, 1.97 GAA and .930 SV (top 3 in the NHL in each), Lundqvist was the backbone of the Blueshirts yet again.
  • Mid-season grade: A+/Full season grade: A/Playoffs: A

Read more »

Recap: Rangers v. Penguins

The return of Sidney Crosby promptly ended the Rangers mini-winning streak as the Pens dropped the Rangers tonight 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.  The Blue shirt’s Jekyll and Hyde play in this game ultimately was their undoing.  There was a lot of positives to take away from this game as well as quite a few negatives.  To the bullets…

  • 1st Period
  • The Rangers started off the game trying to establish a physical presence.  Boyle and Prust were targeting Malkin relentlessly.  Unfortunately, that physical edge would not last long.
  • It seemed like the Rangers were getting their bearings for the first half of the period.  They almost needed to prove to themselves that they could skate with Pittsburgh.
  • Tough bounce on the Pen’s first goal.  Biron made a nice pad save and the rebound went off the crossbar, off Bickel and into the net.  1-0 Penguins.
  • The PK unit looked great in the first.  They were all over Crosby at the point and not allowing the wingers to gain possession along the sidewalls.
  • Carl Hagelin was able to pot a rebound chance off a scramble in front to tie the score at the 13:36 mark.  That line was at it again. 1-1.
  • Marty Biron had a rock solid first period, with great saves on several Penguins chances.
  • 2nd Period
  • Carl Hagelin was the best player on the ice (non-Malkin addition) in the first period and continued his strong play into the second.  He was a forechecking machine and created several turnovers in the offensive zone.
  • James Neal had a tremendous individual effort on Malkin’s goal.  He stripped the puck from Ryan McDonagh and made a fantastic pass to Malkin on the doorstep to give the Pens the lead.  2-1 Pittsburgh.
  • 1:12 later, Matt Cooke put the Pens up by a pair.  Broken defensive coverage allowed Cooke to sneak in the far side for basically an empty net goal.  Gabby got caught in no man’s land on the back check. 3-1 Pens.
  • The Rangers got some chances in the latter half of the second.  Marc-Andre Fleury had an unbelievable glove save on Marian Gaborik, and Brandon Prust followed that up by banging one off the crossbar.
  • The Rangers would pull within one with about five and a half minutes to go in the second.  Gaborik made a terrific back pass on a give and go to Brad Richards and eventually found himself in the slot and buried the shot under Fleury’s right arm.  3-2 Penguins.
  • Late in the second period, the Ranger’s lost Artem Anisimov with an upper body injury sustained on a body check.  He would not return for the remainder of the game.
  • 3rd Period
  • Play was a little timid to start the third.  The teams started out 4-on-4 before the Penguins would eventually see the last minute or so of the double minor to Stu Bickel assessed at the end of the second.  The Rangers did a nice job killing the penalty, but as it was expiring, Brian Boyle blocked a shot that left him limping.  It was essentially a 5-on-3 as Bickel raced from the box and Chris Kunitz was able to beat Marty Biron over his right shoulder off a feed from Crosby.  4-2 Penguins.
  • The Penguins would put the final nail in the coffin several minutes later after Pascal Dupuis banged home a rebound that Biron probably should have controlled or deflected.  5-2 Penguins.
  • The Rangers had several good chances in the final 6 minutes or so but Marc Andre Fleury had a couple ridiculous saves.

Goaltending analysis

  • Marc Andre Fleury was terrific tonight, making 29 saves.  He quashed several good scoring chances the Rangers (mostly the Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik line) created.  His glove was a major weapon tonight.
  • Marty Biron obviously faired a little worse than Fleury in this one.  Overall, I thought he played pretty well though.  The first goal was a brutal bounce and there was very little he could have done on the Malkin and Cooke goals.  The rebound on Dupuis’ goal and his positioning on Kunitz was a little sketchy, but he battled and made some nice saves for the team.

Random thoughts

  • Although the result is not what we were all looking for, it wasn’t as bad as the score would indicate.  Considering the absences of Lundqvist, Callahan and Del Zotto, the Rangers could have played much, much worse.
  • That said, the Rangers lost this game when they stopped forechecking and maintaining their physical edge.  The only line that was really doing much of anything offensively was the new top unit.
  • Too many wide shots tonight.  When your opportunities are limited, you need to at least force the goalie to make a save.
  • Kris Letang was +5 tonight.
  • McDonagh had a rough game.  He saw Staal take his spot on the top pair after the Malkin goal and made a few questionable decisions as the game went along.  Hopefully he can put it behind him and come out strong against Colorado.
  • The secondary scoring has to start to come with some consistency.  The Stepan-Dubi-Anisimov line has to be better than they were tonight.  They showed flashes of promise, but they need to put it together consistently.
  • Even though Crosby’s line did some damage, I actually thought they defended him personally pretty well.
  • Health is so unbelievably important down the stretch into the playoffs.  This team needs Cally/Hank/DZ back asap.

Off tomorrow then the red hot Avalanche come to town Saturday night.