Martin Brodeur is a New Jersey Devil. For many of us, who have been following hockey since or before his rookie season at age 19, he is the New Jersey Devils. I would be lying if I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief when the trade deadline ended and he was still in New Jersey. The thought of Brodeur on any other team seems foreign.
Of course, team loyalty is but part of the equation. Brodeur is a UFA at the end of this season. He has two options: retire a Devil or give it one more go, possibly with another team. Well, get prepared for Brodeur in a different sweater:
“I’m not closing (the door) here at all,” Brodeur told The Star-Ledger. “It will be a decision I’ll make after offers are brought to me. It might be July 1st or it might be way after July 1st.
“It all depends on what is on the table, whether it’s in New Jersey or somewhere else. I’m open-minded about it. I’m looking for specific things some teams probably can’t give me. And that’s understandable at my age. But if I feel I can play and people want me, we’ll see.”
Brodeur wants to play more than he has this season, but he has to know that it won’t end up that way next year. Cory Schneider is the starter, and Brodeur shouldn’t get in the way of that. Marty’s stats this year are proof that he’s slowing down (.900 SV%, 2.54 GAA). He may want to stay in the NHL for his youngest son to have memories of what his father does for a living, but wouldn’t it mean more if they were good memories?
Martin Brodeur will be forever a Devil like Mike Modano is forever a Star and Shane Doan will always be a Coyote. One of those three has spent his entire career with one team. One should’ve called it quits before a terrible final season marred with injury in a city with very little connection to him.
Modano spoiled a farewell season filled with goodwill with thoughts of “oh, well I can totally play one more year.” I would hope that Brodeur could call it quits when he needs to. Who knows? Maybe one more year with the Devils – but he better be prepared to back up Schneider; I don’t know if there’s a team with a need for a goaltender of his age as a starter.