While Henrik Lundqvist put up a career season in statistics and achievements in 2011-12, none of it would have been possible if New York Rangers backup goalie Martin Biron wasn't as effective as he was when called upon.
The plan last year was to give Lundqvist more rest in order to be fresher for the playoffs. Prior seasons saw him start closer to 70 games—including 73 during the 2009-10 season—and fatigue would set in as the calendar turned to April.
Which is why New York needed Biron last year in order to have the season it did.
Having a backup that is occasionally the No. 1 goalie and gives his team a chance to win in starts is a great asset. Biron didn't disappoint. In 20 starts, he went 12-6-2 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .904 save percentage and two shutouts.
If Biron isn't as good as he was, coach John Tortorella would be reluctant to sit his starting goalie—the one that carried his team to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
However, Biron will have to be better next season than he was in the second half of last season to ensure Lundqvist has the appropriate amount of rest. He went 7-2 in his first nine starts, but just 5-5-2 the rest of the way, including four starts with at least four goals against and one start with five goals against.
Not exactly effective, but overall Biron was a steady backup and formed arguably one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL last season.
In hockey, you win and lose as a team and need all of your components playing to their strengths. For the New York Rangers to build upon last season's success, they'll need to see a steady Marty Biron that plays well when asked to start so that Henrik Lundqvist can stay fresh.