Last week, the New York Rangers placed veteran goaltender Martin Biron, their backup goaltender since 2010, on waivers. The 36-year-old cleared waivers, which would normally mean a player would head to the minors. But, on Sunday, Biron made the decision to forgo playing for the Hartford Wolfpack and instead, he will call it a career.
Biron tweeted both in English and French, "After thinking about it with my family, I've decided to retire as a player and move on to a new chapter. Thank you all for your support."
Later, he spoke to reporters. "I know I made the right decision. This has been brewing in my mind for a while, even before the waivers," said Biron. ""When I left for camp this year, I figured I'd play it by ear. After a month, more and more, I had those feelings."
A few of his Ranger teammates took to Twitter to thank Biron for a great career. Blueshirt defenseman John Moore reacted on Twitter by saying, "congrats on a great career to one of the best guys out there." Brian Boyle tweeted, "good luck going forward to one of the best guys out there." Defenseman Michael Del Zotto also tweeted, "congrats on a great career to an amazing teammate." In addition, former New York Islander teammate Kyle Okposo also tweeted, "It was a pleasure playing with you bud, you'll do great with whatever you decide to do next! All the best #oneofakind."
The Buffalo Sabres drafted Biron 16th overall in the 1995 Entry Draft. The only goaltender drafted ahead of him was Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who was drafted at number 13 by the Hartford Whalers - now known the Carolina Hurricanes. (Coincidentally, the Whalers got the 13th pick that year by receiving another pick and two players from the Rangers for forward Pat Verbeek.)
Before the days of Ryan Miller, Biron became the number one goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres. In 2001-02, the Lac St. Charles, Quebec native played in 72 games and sported a record of 31-28-10 with four shutouts. Two years later, he would earn solid numbers in back-to-back seasons. In 2003-04, he had a record of 26-18-5 with a 2.52 GAA and a .913 save percentage. In 2004-05, he played only 35 games, but had a record of 21-8-0-3 with a 2.89 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
But, by 2006-07, Ryan Miller had emerged as the team's number one goaltender. So, Biron was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he played two full seasons. In the first of those seasons, he was able to get the Flyers into the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Biron would also spend a year with the New York Islanders before signing with the New York Rangers to become starter Henrik Lundqvist's backup.
During his time with the Rangers, Biron earned a 22-15-3 record, which included 12 wins during the 2011-12 season, the year Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy, given to the goaltender voted the best of the year. But, he had a rough start to this season, losing twice in two games (one start) while allowing nine goals and garnering a .763 save percentage.
"I always loved the game, from the age of 4, everything about it. I was so blessed to have a career in this sport," said Biron, who retires as only the fifth player in NHL history to play for all three New York State teams (Rangers, Islanders, and Sabres). He joined Pat LaFontaine, Mike Donnelly, Jason Dawe, and current Ranger Taylor Pyatt. "I've got a lot of life to live. This is a blessing. Time for me to try a few different things. Time to start a new chapter."
Meanwhile, reporter Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports that scouts from a number of teams attended Saturday night's Avalanche-Sabres game, including the New York Rangers. There have been recent rumors that Sabres star forward Thomas Vanek may be traded this year. Also, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Rangers are actively shopping forward Chris Krieder, who is currently playing well for the Rangers' AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Garrioch writes that Krieder was once a top prospect for the Rangers, but has since fallen out of favor with the organization. He also says the Rangers may take a run at Vanek if they buy out the contract of Brad Richards - who currently leads the Blueshirts with four goals.
Also, on Saturday night, the Rangers sent goalie Jason Missiaen back to Hartford and have recalled netminder Cam Talbot. On Sunday, the Rangers sent Darroll Powe down to Hartford. Powe was brought up to New York to replace Ryan Callahan, who is injured with a broken thumb.