There are more than a few NHL fans who may have just plain forgot what the New Jersey Devils were like before goalie Martin Broudeur arrived. Drafted in 1990, he’s been a Jersey stalwart for over twenty years. During that time, he’s snagged what seems like every significant goalie record you can think of, including most regular season shutouts, most regular season wins and the only goalie to reach 600 wins period. Top that with three Stanley Cup rings and being the only netminder in the history of the league to score a game-winning goal, and you’ve got a guaranteed ticket to the Hall of Fame.
However, all great things eventually come to an end. While Brodeur is still playing with the Devils this year, he’s begun to realize his time as their starter is coming to an end.
New Jersey is in the middle of a tailspin, having only won once this entire season. You can definitely get the sense the team is still reeling from Ilya Kovalchuk‘s sudden summer retirement. Having lost former captain Zach Parise the year before, the team just doesn’t have the talent to compensate for these losses despite offseason signings of Michael Ryder and Jaromir Jagr.
Meanwhile, in the four starts he’s been given, Brodeur’s stats look pretty rough. His save percentage is only at .865, while his GAA is 3.40. Both stats are the worst he’s seen in his entire career.
To be fair, the Devils showed they were preparing for this when they traded with the Vancouver Canucks in order to bring in Cory Schneider during the offseason. While Schneider has been given just one more start than Brodeur, the Devils’ legend recently admitted he believes the former Canuck has pretty much taken over the starter role.
“I think he’s in the net now to stay. I don’t think that’s going to change. I’ll be ready if it does,” he said. “I hate not playing. That’s the bottom line… I’m glad this happens at 41 and [not] 27.”
Brodeur definitely has a point. Being weened into the backup spot is never fun, but he has an incredible career to look back on. Clearly he knew he wouldn’t be playing into his 80′s — though he’d probably be able to pull it off — so its good to see he’s at least moving towards acceptance. One has to imagine this may be his final season, unless he’s OK with coming back as a full-time backup next year.
Either way, he’s had a career most goalies couldn’t even dream of, so the bottom line is he has nothing to be ashamed of.