Born: August 15, 1977
Birthplace: Lac St. Charles, Quebec, Canada
Height: 6'3" Weight: 163 lbs.
Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, 1st Round, 16th
Overall, 1995 NHL Amateur Draft
Seasons with Buffalo: 1995-96 to Present
Uniform Numbers: 00, 43
|Sabre Totals *|
|1999-00: Star of Stars Award (Most Three Stars selections)
1999-00: Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award (Sabres Rookie of the Year)
|1994-95: QMJHL Goaltender of the Year
1994-95: QMJHL First Team All-Star
1998-99: Bas Bastien Memorial Trophy (AHL's Outstanding Goaltender)
1998-99: Harry "Hap" Holmes Trophy (AHL lowest team goals against average, shared with Tom Draper.)
1998-99: AHL First Team All Star
|*Totals are through 2000-01 Season.|
|For three years, Martin Biron sat in the shadow of greatness. As backup to All-World goaltender Dominik Hasek, Biron rarely got the recognition, or playing time, he longed for. As the second man on the depth chart of perhaps the deepest goaltending team in the NHL, Biron was forced to sit back and wait his turn.
In late June, 2001, the waiting finally ended as Hasek was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Now, Biron is finally where he wants to be, as the number one goaltender of the Buffalo Sabres.
It's been a long wait, but Biron is confident that he can fill the role. Biron may never be as good as his predecessor. Hasek was, and is, one of the best goaltenders ever to strp on the pads. Biron will have his work cut out for him trying to live up to the expectations of fans who have been treated to the Hasek magic for the past nine seasons. Only time will tell how Biron fares and if he can emerge from the long shadow cast by Dominik Hasek.
|Biron's route to the NHL began, as it does for many NHL players, in the Canadian Major Junior leagues. Biron played his minor hockey for the Beauport Harfangs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his first year as starter for Beauport in 1994-95, Biron was impressive. At only 17 years of age, he led the league with a 2.48 goals against average (GAA). Biron was named QMJHL and CHL Goaltender of the year for the 1994-95 season. He was also named First Team All-Star. Based on his solid performance, Biron was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round, 16th overall selection, in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.|
|In 1995, Biron was on his way to another stellar season with Beauport when he received a call from the Sabres. Starter Hasek was out of the lineup with an abdominal strain. Third string goaltender Robb Stauber, who had been playing for the Sabres' AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, was out of action as well with a torn rotator cuff. The Sabres called up rookie Steve Shields from South Carolina of the CHL to back up Andrei Trefilov in Buffalo. Then, the unthinkable happened. Trefilov strained his knee on December 23, 1995 against the Ottawa Senators. Biron was called in from his junior team to pitch in.
On December 26, 1995, Biron, fresh from the juniors, was in uniform and in the net, making his NHL debut on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins. At 18 years of age, Biron was the fourth youngest goaltender ever to start an NHL game. It was a bad situation for a youngster making his NHL debut. The Penguins were an offensive powerhouse, with Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis and Petr Nedved, among others.
|With a rookie starting, and another in Shields backing him up, it promised to be a long night for the Sabres. Biron, wearing jersey number double zero, got off to a shaky start, giving up a goal to Nedved just 2:09 into the first period. The Sabres tied it up just two minutes later on a Derek Plante goal, but the Penguins weren't done. David Roche scored at 5:28 of the first. Jaromir Jagr added a goal on the powerplay 5 minutes later, and Ron Francis topped it off with another powerplay goal with just 8 seconds remaining in the first period.
At the start of the second period, Sabres coach Ted Nolan sat Biron in favor of Shields, who had made his NHL debut only three nights earlier when Trefilov had been injured. Shields didn't fare much better, giving up a goal to Mario Lemieux and another to Chris Joseph within a minute and twenty-nine seconds, midway through the period. The Sabres unable to score in the second.
Biron was back in net for the start of the third period, and this time he held the Penguins scoreless. Matthew Barnaby and Dane Jackson scored to bring the Sabres within three, but the goals were meaningless. The Sabres were unable to tie the game. Biron's NHL debut ended in a
6-3 Penguins victory.
|Biron was back in Rochester to start the 1999-00 season, but was recalled to the Sabres in late October to backup Dominik Hasek. When Hasek went out with a groin injury on October 29, 1999, Biron was given the brunt of the goaltending duties for the Sabres, backed up by Dwayne Roloson.
Biron played excellently as starter while Hasek was out, keeping the Sabres in Playoff contention. He was named the NHL's Player of the Week for the week of November 1 through November 7, 1999, recording a 1.95 GAA and three wins during that stretch. He recorded his first NHL shutout on November 19, 1995 in a 4-0 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Biron would record 4 more shutouts that season, which tied a team record for most shutouts by a rookie set by Don Edwards in the 1976-77 season. His 5 shutouts was tied for 3rd most in the League that year. Before Hasek returned and resumed starting duties for the Sabres, Biron had been leading the League in that department. Biron finished the season with a 2.42 GAA in 41 games played. At season's end, Biron was give the team's Star of Stars award, which is given to the player with the most three stars selections throughout the season.
|A restricted free agent at the end of the 1999-00 campaign, Biron held out, looking for more money. Biron's hold out lasted throughout training camp and into the beginnign of the season. Finally, on November 7, 2000, after lowing his initial demands, Biron signed a multi-year deal with the Sabres. He spent the 2000-01 season once again backing up Dominik Hasek. In 18 games, Biron had a 2.55 GAA and 2 shutouts.
Following the trade of Hasek to the Detroit Red Wings on June 30, 2001, Martin Biron will be the Sabres' starting goaltender going into the 2001-02 season.
|Biron was traded to the Hull Olympiques midway through the 1996-97 season, and finished his junior career there. For the 1997-98 season, Biron was assigned to the Rochester Americans. He played well as a rookie with Rochester, posting a 2.93 GAA in 41 games and five shutouts. At the end of the season, Biron was named Rochester's Rookie of the year.
Biron's second season with Rochester, 1998-99, was even more impressive. In 52 games, Biron posted a 2.07 GAA, the lowest for a single season in the AHL in 60 years. His six shutouts tied a Rochester team record. He played in the AHL All-Star game. In the playoffs, Biron led the Amerks to the Calder Cup Finals. At the end of the season he was named Rochester's M.V.P. and Most Popular player. He also won the Baz Bastien Trophy, awarded to the AHL's outstanding goaltender and shared the Harry "Hap" Holmes Trophy, for lowest team GAA, with teammate Tom Draper. Biron also played six games for the Sabres that year, posting an impressive 2.14 GAA, and earning his first NHL win with a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on March 5, 1999. He also changed his Buffalo uniform number to 43, after NHL regulations passed in 1998 outlawed his double-zero.
|Biron was back in net for the Sabres the following night at home against the Ottawa Senators. Biron played the entire game, looking more confident then he had the previous night in Pittsburgh. With the game tied at 3-3 going into the third period, it looked as though the Sabres might pull out a tie until a powerplay goal by Ottawa's Ted Drury sealed it for the Senators with 1:54 remaining in the third period.
Following the loss to the Senators, the Sabres signed veteran goaltender John Blue to hold down the goaltending duties. Shields was sent back to South Carolina, and Biron remained on the roster as backup for Blue. Biron would see action in one more game that year, in a relief effort against Montreal on January 6, 1996. Biron played just less then a period, giving up two goals, both to former Sabre Pierre Turgeon.
When Hasek was able to return to the lineup on January 10, Biron was returned to Beauport of the QMJHL, where he finished the remainder of the season.
|Mathieu Biron, Martin's younger brother, is a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1998, Mathieu played two seasons in the New York Islanders organization before being traded to the Lightning in 2001.|
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