No, it's not Hank; he's a beast, so don't go jumping down my throat. I'm talking about the backup job. Even as far back as the 05-06 season the backup goaltending role has often been a one in question. Out of camp that year Henrik got the job as backup goaltender and eventually became the star we love today. Since then we've had number of puck stoppers behind him, but never one that could play 20 or 30 games with confidence. Many people have cited this as part of the reason that the Rangers have made so many early playoff exits. So with UFA season approaching, and nothing etched in stone by Rangers management what are our options?
Should we give Chad Johnson a shot at proving himself and hope he's our answer? Here are his numbers.
In Hartford his GAA was 2.54 and SV% .911 through 47 games. But with the weakness at five hole he showed a lot of NHL snipers would pick up on it quick. Let's hope he fixes it.
There are some very good backup goaltenders coming off the books in other cities though, and they may be worth a look. Especially if it gives the puckstoppers in Hartford one more year to mature.
Martin Biron has been playing in Nassau at a cap hit of 1.4 million. He had 9 wins this year but with a GAA of 3.27. With a GAA like that he may be persuaded into taking a pay cut, and because he wont have to relocate maybe an offer of $1.0 million would temp him. Peter Budaj has a save percentage of .917 through 15 games played and even had a shutout this season at a hit of $1.25mil. But if I were to spend the money I think I'd spend it on Johan Hedberg. He's a career backup and hasn't started more than half the season since 01-02, but if he could play like he did this year for Atlanta at around the $1.175 million he made this year he'd be an excellent addition to Lundqvist between the pipes. He's also Swedish, maybe him and Henrik could form a little chemistry and give each other confidence. Here are his numbers:
Now I know a lot of people aren't hyped about signing free agents this summer but tell me what you think. Our goaltender is good, but he cant play 82 games a season. I personally dont have much faith in the kids on the farm, and I'm not sure Johnson is ready to play 20+ games in the NHL. It may do him good to go back down. What do you think?