NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 31: A second period shot by Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils goes past the glove of Martin Biron #43 of the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center on January 31, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Not too long ago it seemed as though the New York Rangers and backup goaltender Martin Biron were supposedly close to a new deal to keep Biron on Broadway. But since that was originally reported it seems talks have died down. Or, at least, there hasn't been enough headway to make headlines.
Since we're a couple of days away from July 1st, it should be noted that there's at least a slight possibility that Biron might find himself on the free agency list. That wouldn't be a good thing for the Rangers, especially since the Philadelphia Flyers are rumored to become major players for Biron if he hits open waters.
That would do one of two things. 1) It would drive up his value considerably if the Rangers manage to hold onto him. 2) The Rangers could lose him and have to look into the not-so-deep pool of free agents to find a quality backup goaltender John Tortorella trusts enough to give 20 games to next year.
Join me after the jump for more.
The Rangers can't really afford to let Biron hit the open market. Just a quick glance at Capgeek gives you a bleak look at what the Rangers would be looking at if they don't retain Biron. Here are the options:
Johan Hedberg, Scott Clemmensen, Dwayne Roloson and Al Montoya highlight the list. Again, those are the highlights of the list. Those aren't exactly names that inspire confidence, and for Tortorella, confidence for his goaltending is key. That includes the backup goaltender. And if Tortorella doesn't trust his backup goaltender, then Henril Lundqvist might find himself playing 70 games.
That can't happen. We got a great look at what a rested Lundqvist can do in the playoffs. You've heard the stories of how great a teammates Biron is, how he gives Lundqvist his space and how he alters his own schedule so that Lundqvist can be more comfortable.
You're most likely not going to find that in a backup goaltender. You're most likely not going to find that in the Rangers' farm system as well. Especially since Cam Talbot and Chad Johnson don't seem ready to take over the backup responsibilities.
It was believed that Biron was a priority for the Rangers. That's probably still the case right now.
Now it's just a matter of getting the job done.