No, Martin Brodeur is not announcing his retirement from the goaltending duties of the New Jersey Devils. As a matter of fact, he still has a year left on the two-year deal he inked last summer and he says he may not be ready to hang up the skates at the conclusion of next season. Clearly, Brodeur has still got it and doesn’t want to end his illustrious career with the Devils watching all of the postseason action as they did this year.
However, the time has come for General Manager Lou Lamoriello and the coaching staff to start considering who is eventually going to take over the reins. As much as Johan Hedberg is a fan favorite, can the Devils really afford to have two goalies over the age of 40 sharing the duties in the net?
It would appear that the time has come for the team to start grooming an heir apparent to take over when Brodeur says his final goodbyes.
The two top contenders would seem to be prospects Keith Kinkaid and Jeff Frazee. Both young men shared the goaltending duties in Albany for the club’s AHL affiliate and got a brief taste of NHL action when they came on in relief of Hedberg during two rough outings when Brodeur was out with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Kinkaid is a local boy, growing up out on Long Island. He was signed as a free agent by the Devils in April of 2011 after his sophomore year at Union College. The 23-year-old was 17-20-3 in 42 outings for the Albany Devils, recording three shutouts. He had a 2.94 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
Frazee was a second round pick of the team in the 2005 Entry Draft as the 38th overall pick out of the University of Minnesota. The 25-year-old Minnesota native went 12-19-2 for Albany with two shutouts, and he had a 2.67 goals against average with a .906 save percentage.
One of the questions Lamoriello needs to address this summer is whether or not it is time to give one of these players an opportunity to see what they can do at the NHL level or wait another year and go with the Brodeur/Hedberg tandem.
However, while goaltending was not really the downfall of the Devils, it does seem as though it is time for a major team overhaul because status quo isn’t getting the job done in the Garden State anymore.