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 »