The 2013 season, their followup to a surprise appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, has been a difficult one for the New Jersey Devils. After a hot start to the season, the Devils have melted down quite a bit and were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend.
It’s hard to point to one particular area and determine what cost the Devils a postseason appearance. Injuries haven’t helped, particularly to key players like Ilya Kovalchuk and Bryce Salvador. Some of their others aren’t living up to lucrative new contracts (Travis Zajac).
Regardless of where the struggles originated, it’s hard to point to Martin Brodeur and say that too many issues that the Devils have experienced this season rest squarely on him. In fact, part of the reason that this Devils slide began was due to a Brodeur injury.
Brodeur’s numbers on the season aren’t spectacular. His save percentage is just .900, but his goals-against average is actually very good at 2.23, which includes a pair of shutouts on the season. With a struggling team in front of him, Brodeur has done his best to keep the Devils in every game.
He’s laid an egg in a few performances, but even the elite goaltenders in the game have this year. Of course, given Brodeur’s age, it’s impossible to call him elite right now. But the fact that he’s pushing 41 and still performing as well as he is is incredible on its own.
Overall, Brodeur has had a very good month of April. He’s allowed more than two goals in only three of his 10 starts, one of which was a three-goal performance. He’s only won two of those games, one of which was a shutout. The Devils have lost five games in which Brodeur has allowed two or less goals.
Brodeur has held up his end of the bargain for much of the year, even if the numbers aren’t terrific. Assuming he’s coming back next year, perhaps the Devils can get him a bit of help and maybe end his career on a bit higher of a note than this season is going to end on.