One of the biggest coaching decisions in the shortened 48 game NHL season will be goaltending. In a regular season, coaches can rely on their starting goalie and play them in 70 games. However, in a shortened season teams play more games in a shorter period of time. Will the New Jersey Devils play goalie Martin Brodeur more or less than normal in the 2012-2013 season?
Devils head coach Pete DeBoer told the media, “If it was up to Marty he’d play every night.” Brodeur has played in 70 games in 10 of the last 10 seasons. Of course those three he didn’t were three of the four most recent. However, I think a shortened season helps Brodeur and he will be ready to go in as many games as possible.
Brodeur plays in around 73 out of 82 games each season, which represents 89% of possible starts. This would translate to 43 games played in the shortened 2012-2013 season. I actually think this is a pretty good estimate for Brodeur this year. If he gets injured or his stats start to drop, the story will be different.
Waiting behind Brodeur is Johan Hedberg. In the 2011-2012 season, backup Hedberg started 23 games, posting a 17-7-2 record. Hedberg is more than capable of stepping in and providing relief for Brodeur, as called upon for Brodeur’s recent injuries.
Future Hockey Hall of Famer Brodeur is now 40 years old, but still playing at the top of his game. In the four games he has played this season, Brodeur has not lost in regulation. Brodeur holds a 3-0-1 record and boasts an 1.69 goals against average and .932 save percentage. If Brodeur keeps playing like this, the team would be stupid to not play him at least 40 games.