Martin Biron Having Bounce-Back Season As Ranger Backup

Matthew CalamiaCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11:  Martin Biron #43 of the New York Rangers warms up before playing against the Montreal Canadiens on January 11, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Last season may be one that goaltender Martin Biron would like to forget. His only season on Long Island playing for the lack-luster New York Islanders was shrouded in goalie controversy. Right from training camp, it was a three-way battle for the starting job between Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson and himself. Once DiPietro succumbed to what seems like his annual season-ending injury, it was a two man race.

That race was ultimately won by Roloson, who had a great season with the Islanders even as he pushed 40 years old. Biron was relegated to backup and just never seemed to find his rhythm, finishing the year with a 9-14-4 record.

Fast-forward to July 1 and the start of free agency. The Rangers, in desperate need of a backup goaltender to rid Henrik Lundqvist of starting 70-plus games every year, ink Biron to a two-year deal to become the backup goaltender.

Since then, Biron, a former first-round pick, has shined in his role as The King's backup. Aside from one game in October against the Atlanta Thrashers, Biron has given the Rangers a chance to win every time he takes his place between the pipes.

In his 16 starts this season, he has held opponents to two goals or fewer 11 times, and would clearly have a better record (8-6) if the Rangers scored goals for him. In three of his six losses, he allowed just one goal, meaning the Rangers were shutout.

Biron was undefeated in five consecutive starts this season from Nov. 11 through Dec. 16. All you can ask from your backup goaltender is to give you a chance to win games. He has done that and more for the Blueshirts.

Goaltending is a lot like pitching. As good as a pitcher is, he needs run support to put up wins. That just has not happened for Biron this season.

It has been said that Biron is a great locker room personality, something that is essential on a young team like the Rangers. His up-beat, positive attitude can work wonders for the young core the Rangers have assembled.

Biron has been the safety net for the Rangers this season that they have not had in several seasons. It has become apparent to Ranger fans that Lundqvist goes through stretches of mediocrity each season (much like he has been going through now), so having the presence of a veteran like Biron on the bench is key if this team has any success in the stretch run to the Stanley Cup playoffs.