A 1-4 start to the season practically demanded that changes be made to the New York Rangers’ roster.
GM Glen Sather’s response? He placed veteran backup goaltender Martin Biron and enforcer Aaron Asham on waivers this morning.
Ok, it’s something . . . but hardly the cage rattler that fans were calling for.
Biron, who served as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy for the past three seasons, coughed away two points against the Blues on Saturday. While his teammates played their best hockey of the season, he fought the puck through two periods, allowing four goals before being pulled in a 5-3 loss. He was also the goalie who was victimized by Tomas Hertl for a spectacular through-the-legs goal last Tuesday night. But since Lundqvist was likely to start 70 games this season anyway, Biron’s loss will be measured more in terms of chemistry than anything else.
Asham had played in just three of New York’s games, earning two major penalties. His season highlight may have been going to the wrong penalty box after a fight with Kyle Clifford of the Kings. His value to the team is also negligible.
Asham was making $1 million this year while Biron was set to make $1.3 million. Clearing them off the books, and bringing in cheaper replacements from the minors (say, Cam Talbot and Chris Kreider), could create a little bit of leeway under the cap for Sather to do something more substantial in the trade market.
How much space he’ll have to work with depends on whether Biron and Asham are claimed within the next 24 hours. If that happens, their salaries are wiped off New York’s books. If not, they can be sent to the AHL, taking a large portion of their cap hit with them.
There’s already speculation that the Oilers might be interested in Biron, but his 7.65 GAA and .763 save percentage through two appearances is hardly an upgrade from the struggling Devan Dubnyk.