Becoming an NHL goaltender is hard enough. Becoming an elite starting goaltender is even more challenging.
However, there are always backups. Every team has them, but they don't necessarily prefer to use them. A starting goaltender is expected to make at least 60 starts a season, barring any type of injury.
The biggest challenge for a starting goaltender is to help their team win games. They also have to maintain their current job as a starter.
As for the backup, it is much more than just sitting on the bench watching the game. That goaltender must be prepared at all times, just like the starter. If there is any type of injury, the backup is called in and is expected to compete at their best level.
After sitting on the bench for an amount of time, it is difficult to come in and perform well.
Having a reliable backup goaltender is a very important part for a winning hockey team. There are some teams who rarely have to use the backup goalie. On the other hand, goaltenders can get injured, allowing the backup to perform.
If the team does not have a solid backup, they are going to struggle to win games. The Buffalo Sabres found this out last season.
Buffalo was sitting in the top five of the Eastern Conference before Ryan Miller went down due to an ankle injury. So in the backup goaltender.
Patrick Lalime and Mikael Tellqvist split time as the backups in Buffalo last season.
Lalime finished 5-13-3. Tellqvist finished 9-6-1.
The two of them were not good enough to get the Sabres into the playoffs. Buffalo ended up missing the playoffs by two points.
A reliable backup goaltender would have been able to get Buffalo those two points they needed, if not more.
This season lalime and Jhonas Enroth have combined to go 0-3, allowing 15 goals in four games. These are not the statistics backups should have.
The lack of backup goaltender proves that the Sabres need to address this problem. Islanders goaltender Martin Biron would be a perfect fit back in Buffalo.
Biron went 12-4-1 as the backup a few years ago when he played for Buffalo.
The Islanders have a surplus of goaltenders, making Biron available to other teams. Biron's salary is only 1.4 million, so he is affordable as far as the Sabres are concerned.
It would be wise for Buffalo to go after Biron and bring him back. He would significantly improve the goaltender situation. Not to mention, the fans loved him when he played in Buffalo.
If the Sabres plan to make a run at the playoffs, they cannot rely on Patrick Lalime to get them there. If Miller gets injured at all, the Sabres chances at the playoffs will diminish in a hurry.
Biron is capable of carrying a team and he would be a perfect fit in Buffalo.