Any list of top NHL players would not be complete without New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. While there is little debating Brodeur’s career accomplishments, there always seems to be a bit more controversy when it comes to where exactly he sits on that list. The Rant Sports top 100 is no different. The future hall of famer comes in on ours at a lukewarm number 95.
Even at such an advanced age, Brodeur still remains one of the games top golatenders. Marty and the Devils are fresh off an awe inspiring trot through the playoffs; highlighted by a game six, double-overtime, Eastern Conference Finals clincher over bitter cross-Hudson rivals the New York Rangers. While Brodeur was clearly not the story in the run towards the Stanley Cup Finals, he certainly played a big role in getting there; finishing with a 14-9 record, 2.12 goals against average and a respectable .917 save percentage.
Although Brodeur and the Devils fell in the Finals, he is living proof that age is just a number and that he is in fact still an elite goalie.
Marty comes in towards the bottom of our list because of his recent numbers. There was a time when 40-45 wins and 10 shutouts was his regular season norm. Not so anymore. Injuries have limited his amount of games played and age has slowed his reflexes. As a result, Brodeur has won more than 31 games only once since 2008-09 and his save percentage has dipped below .910 over the last two.
Despite the recent decline, he is still Martin Brodeur. He holds several NHL records and by the time he retires he will hold most if not all major goaltending records. Marty is number one in NHL wins with 656, holds the NHL record for shutouts with 119, won three Stanley Cups, has 113 playoff victories and won four Vezina trophies.
Brodeur also has 14 seasons of 30 or more wins including eight seasons with 40 or more. He also has the distinction of being the youngest goalie to reach 300, 400 and 500 wins and yes, he has even scored two goals (one in the playoffs) in his iconic career.
Brodeur re-signed for two more seasons in New Jersey over the summer and should eclipse 700 wins before he hangs up the pads. Those are amazing numbers and even more impressive when you remember NHL-NHLPA labor disputes cost Brodeur an additional season and a half worth of games, or another 50+ wins and maybe more if the 2012-13 season is delayed.
Critics say Brodeur is a product of a tight New Jersey defensive system. But, anybody that has watched Brodeur throughout his career and especially during the times he has struggled knows how much he has meant to the Devils and the league itself. He has always been a team first guy and an ambassador for the league. He’s the earn the right to be viewed as one of the leagues all-time greats.
While he is clearly on the back-end of his career, a list of the top 100 NHL players would not be complete without the name “Brodeur” on it; even if he is only number 95.
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