Rangers expect 'competition' for backup goaltender, says coach

Joel Auerbach

Alain Vigneault says the Rangers expect to have a competition for the club's backup goaltender.

The New York Rangers are planning to hold a competition for their backup goaltender position, according to coach Alain Vigneault.

Martin Biron has acted as Henrik Lundqvist's understudy for the last three seasons and is considered by many to be one of the league's top backups. Biron is also known to have a great relationship with Lundqvist and acts as a sounding board for the Rangers No. 1.

Vigneault apparently isn't concerned with that component of Biron's skill-set, however.

After the Rangers' incumbent backup missed the first day of training camp due to a "personal matter," the Rangers signed unrestricted free agent Johan Hedberg to a professional tryout contract. Hedberg has spent the last three seasons as the backup to New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and understands what it takes to support a dominant No. 1 goaltender.

According to Vigneault, the team is looking for someone who is capable of playing significant time in an Olympic season. Considering Lundqvist will be going to Sochi, Vigneault might look to lighten the load around February in anticipation of a playoff appearance.

Biron has made 44 appearances over the last three seasons (2.18 goals against average and .912 save percentage), including six in 2013. Hedberg has made 80 appearances (2.23 GAA and .907 save percentage) over that span.

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