New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers

Biron, Hedberg competing for Rangers’ back-up spot


It’s Martin Biron versus  Johan Hedberg. The stakes: The back-up goalie job with the New York Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist is the starter and no one will take that from him. But now the competition will begin to see who serves as his No. 2 man.

“I would say yes, in the sense that we invited Hedberg at the last minute, and if we brought him in, obviously we’re going to give him a chance,” Rangers’ head coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Post.

“Marty is aware of it, we had a discussion.”

source: Getty ImagesBiron returned to Rangers training camp on Friday, after missing the first two days to deal with a personal matter.

“I’m not going to go into details, it’s just how life is sometimes and you’ve got to roll with it,” he said earlier in the day. “Again, I was fortunate I was able to get home and now to be back.”

Hedberg, 40, spent the past three seasons with the rival New Jersey Devils. He finished the lockout-shortened season with a 6-10-3 record, 2.76 goals-against average and .883 save percentage.

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.