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The injury carousel continues to spin for the New York Rangers. After the team did basically nothing at the deadline -- other than acquire forward depth at the AHL level (John Mitchell from Toronto) -- general manager Glen Sather announced in his conference with the media that Martin Biron had suffered a fractured collarbone in practice after being struck with a puck and would most likely not return this season. The GM also said he does not think captain Chris Drury will return to the lineup this season after knee surgery.
"I don't think Biron's going to be back until the end of the season," Sather said, as quoted by Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News.
The Rangers called up Cam Talbot, a 23-year-old, from the AHL. He was added as a free agent about a year ago. Talbot was 8-3-2 with the Whale with two shutouts and a 2.42 goals against average. Laurie Carr, who covers the prospects for Beyond the Blueshirts tweets that it is also very likely that New York could swap in Chad Johnson, who played in five games last season in the NHL, and is 16-19-3 with 2.72 GAA and .901 save percentage in 40 games in the AHL for Talbot when Lundqvist needs a night off.
In the conference call, Sather also discussed the fact that there just wasn't a lot of time to find a veteran backup -- and that once teams knew Biron was injured, the price for one grew too steep for New York. Definitely the right call there not to trade an asset for a short-term fix.
"There wasn't an awful lot of time, Sather said, as quoted by Andrew Gross of The Bergen Record. There were a couple of possibilities but when you're looking for something on short notice, it becomes very expensive. Again, you just don't want to lay a lot of things on the line. I know it's risky but Henrik loves the work, loves to play."
With that being said, Biron's loss is a tough one for the Rangers to swallow, despite him being a backup to one of the better netminders in the game, Henrik Lundqvist. When Biron signed his two-year deal with the Rangers this past offseason, John Tortorella said that he wanted Lundqvist to be rested more so that he would be fresher during the stretch run and he most definitely has been given more time off. Biron has started 15 games this season -- so he was probably on pace for 18-20 this year -- and he was exceptional when he was called upon: an 8-6 record, with a .923 save percentage and 2.13 goals against. These rates were all career bests, albeit in a limited workload compared with the rest of his career.
Lundqvist has started the past eight consecutive games for the Rangers and he'll undoubtedly be relied on heavily in the final 18 games. He played in 73 games last season and has been in 50 this year. Talbot will probably only see a few starts until the end of the season, if that -- but a potential waiver-wire grab shouldn't be discounted, if one becomes available.
As for Drury, he could have played his last game in red, white and blue, if he does not return this season. There's a very good chance that Sather will buy out the remaining $7.05 million on his contract this offseason, which would remove his salary from the cap.
|2010 - Martin Biron||17||928||8||6||33||2.13||426||393||.923||0|