Rangers' shakeup: Biron, Asham clear waivers
The New York Rangers are shaking up their roster in response to an abysmal 1-4-0 start to the season.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers shook up their roster Monday in response to an abysmal 1-4-0 start to the season.
Backup goaltender Martin Biron and rugged winger Arron Asham were put on waivers, the team confirmed. Biron, who was notified of the decision by coach Alain Vigneault after practicing Monday, did not rule out retirement when asked about his options if he is not claimed.
"I don't know. I think there are many options ahead of me. I was just put on waivers, so we'll see what happens with that," Biron said. "It's not the best-case scenario, obviously, but I'm going to be all right and I'm going to figure it all out."
Both players cleared waivers Tuesday at noon ET.
Both players will be expected to report to New York's AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Biron said he will take time to discuss that decision with family members, who are in Buffalo, N.Y.
"Obviously, I have to take some time to think about it," Biron said. "We'll see. I'll talk to the family and get some advice from many different people."
A source told ESPNNewYork.com that Biron will take a week before making a decision on his future.
Should Biron accept his reassignment, his adjusted cap charge while playing in the AHL would be $375,000. Asham's would be a more modest hit of $75,000.
Vigneault said Biron's $1.3 million salary was not a contributing factor in the decision, although Biron indicated otherwise. In fairness to Vigneault, who appeared unconvinced on Biron as the team's backup since training camp began, the 36-year-old hasn't played well.
Biron surrendered four goals before his removal in the team's 5-3 loss to St. Louis on Saturday. Although his numbers are also a reflection of the team's overall struggles, his goals-against average (7.61) and save percentage (.763) are unsightly.
"It's a performance-based business, and the organization felt Marty's first two performances were not what we expected, [so] we decided to put him on waivers," Vigneault said. "We're gonna get together this afternoon as a group and talk about where we go from there."
The most likely candidate appears to be Cam Talbot, who competed for the backup job with Biron in training camp. The 26-year-old netminder, who showed significant improvement last season, is 2-0-1 in three starts for the Wolf Pack this season with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. His cap hit would be approximately $562,500.
Vigneault was asked whether veteran goaltender and former New Jersey Devil Johan Hedberg might be a possibility -- the 40-year-old Swede joined the Rangers on a professional tryout during training camp -- but the coach sounded lukewarm on him as an option.
Asham said he had an idea the move was possible but said there were "no hard feelings" between him and the organization.
With Asham on the way down and neither Rick Nash (concussion) nor Carl Hagelin (shoulder) available, Vigneault indicated the team is in need of more skill. It could mean either J.T. Miller or Chris Kreider could be on his way up in advance of Wednesday's game against the Capitals.
Hagelin, who was placed on long-term injured reserve to start the season, must miss five more games before he is eligible to return. Nash's return does not appear imminent. Vigneault said Nash, who missed the past two games after sustaining a blow to the head Tuesday, was still experiencing symptoms from Brad Stuart's suspension-worthy hit.
With Nash's injury and the moves made Monday, pressure appears to be mounting on a Rangers team that has severely underperformed to start the season. They just returned home from a shockingly bad road trip that included losses to the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks in which New York was outscored 15-2.
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