Today, the New York Rangers waived both forward Arron Asham and goaltender Martin Biron. While the Asham move was understandable, the Biron transaction is somewhat perplexing.
There is no doubt that Biron is off to a horrible start this season. In two games (one of which he started), Biron is 0-1 with a 7.61 goals against average and a .763 save percentage, numbers that are well below his career average.
On Saturday night, Biron's struggles were ever present. In two periods of a play against a tough St. Louis Blues hockey club, Biron allowed four goals on 17 shots and never really looked comfortable between the pipes.
Biron also struggled in just over 30 minutes of action against the San Jose Sharks in his team's 9-2 loss. In replacing Henrik Lundqvist in the middle of the second period, Biron went on to allow five goals on 21 shots.
Obviously, the statistics mentioned above look terrible. This is a goaltender who has usually always been solid for the Rangers and has never really played this poorly before.
With that said, it should be pointed out that Biron is not the only one that is struggling. Yes, he has allowed nine goals on just 38 shots but the whole team around him also struggled in the games he played in.
For the last several seasons, Biron has been the consummate professional for the Rangers. He has put up good numbers since joining the team in the 2010-11 season, he has proven to be reliable when the team gave Lundqvist a night or two off and he was someone that the team could count on when he was in between the pipes.
This is what makes this particular move tough to understand. The whole team has been bad this season and yet, Biron is one who is taking the fall for it.
When asked for his reaction to being waived, Biron told Daily News Rangers' beat writer Pat Leonard exactly what we would expect from one of the Rangers' and league's most likeable guys.
As one would expect, Biron's teammates thought very highly him. This was especially the case for Rangers' defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who explained to Leonard that he expects that in the end, Biron will come out of this stronger than ever.
“This is not a fun feeling. It’s not something that I’ve had to experience in my career. We’ll battle. I came in for practice this morning and I did what I had to do out there and I worked hard. So I’ll just play it as it comes.”
“He’s the epitome of a team guy. It seems like he’s been through it all. We did a little trivia game on the road, and his one fact was that he started as an 18-year-old in the NHL, got sent down to the AHL and spent a little time in the East Coast league before he made it back. So he’s … probably seen a lot more than most goalies can say. He’s a competitor at heart. As much as he’s a warm, outgoing, talkative guy, he’s a competitor. He’ll find his groove here and be OK.”
With Biron now on waivers, it is expected that the team will call up AHL netminder Cam Talbot to be the team's back-up to Lundqvist. While Talbot did have a strong training camp with the club, it would be hard to imagine him bringing in the same qualities that Biron brought to the Rangers for over three seasons.
It is certainly a strange move that the Rangers made today. With that said, the Rangers and their fans better hope that the reason for placing Biron on waivers is a good one because if it is not, it could end up hurting them in a big way at some point this season.