Martin Biron: Not To Be Discounted

Brad MorrellContributor IMay 8, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 19:  Martin Biron #43 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs  at the Wachovia Center on April 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers won the game 6-3 to cut the Penguins lead in the series to two games to one.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I still hear all this scuttlebutt about the Flyers' goalie situation.  I hear names tossed around like Lehtonen, Khabibulin, Emery, and Clemmensen. 


Let me first say that out of all goalies in the discussion, only Khabibulin was a starting goalie in the playoffs.  In the playoffs so far, Khabibulin has a save percentage of .899 and a GAA of 2.61.  Biron had a save percentage of .919 and a GAA of 2.56 in the Flyers playoff run. 


My point is, although Biron looks to be the better goalie on the books, Khabibulin is the one who still has a team in the Playoffs. 


Stats can be an interesting tool, but sometimes can be overused.  However, most statistics can be very deceiving without looking at more than one at a time. 


Save percentage is perhaps the best to look at since it is a true picture of the percentage of shots on goal that a goalie stops.


Here are some regular season stats I would like to share.  Lehtonen had a Sv% of .911; Khabibulin had a save percentage of .919, Clemmensen had a save percentage of .917, Biron’s save percentage was .915. 


Ray Emery in the 2007-08 season had a save percentage of .890 and a lifetime save percentage of .907.  The only thing Emery has on Biron is when he taught him a lesson about coming out of the paint. 


Besides the not so recent NHL stats of Emery, all other goalies here have a difference of .008 on their save percentage.  Scary? 


Marty faced 250 more shots in the regular season than any of these goalies.  The problem there is a deficiency in the defense. 


After looking at all of this, I hardly feel the blame for a quick out in the Playoffs should be held on the shoulders of Biron or any other goaltender for that fact.


Hockey is a team sport.  The Flyers clearly have a problem in the D, not the net. 


Just like a great front line can make an average quarterback look great, a great defense can make an average goalie look great. 


With salary cap issues, the best the Flyers will do for the next couple of years is an average goalie.  That is unless Holmgren makes some great off season trades as he has done several times in the past.


I am, in no way, saying bring Biron back.  Nor am I saying not to sign him again.  I am saying that out of all the goalie names tossed into the hat, none of them will make a difference if the Flyers can’t shore up the blue line with some better defense.