Archive for Martin Biron
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… Read More→
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:
- Arron Asham is out with back spasms. Christian Thomas has been recalled to take his roster spot.
- To make room for Thomas, Rick Nash has been placed on IR, retroactive to last Saturday.
- Marc Staal has the flu, and is a game time decision.
- Michael Del Zotto is a game time decision with the lower body injury sustained on Thursday.
- Martin Biron is starting tonight.
I think that sums it up at the moment. There’s a lot going on tonight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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→
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…
- 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