On July 1, it is likely that Martin Brodeur will be wearing an NHL jersey that isn’t that of the New Jersey Devils for the first time since he was drafted by the team back in 1991. He has been meeting with other teams in regards to playing one last season. He has said that he doesn’t want to come back and mess with what the team has with Cory Schneider.
I have to give it to Brodeur, this is the right thing to do. While as a fan I would never want him to wear another sweater, it is bad for both parties to have him as the team’s backup. If Schneider ever had a bad start, fans and media would be calling for Brodeur to be the starter, which is bad for the future of the franchise.
Schneider is not only the better option for the future, he is the better option for the Devils in 2014-15. Brodeur had over half a goal more on his yearly GAA and was 20 points less on his save percentage. There is talk among some media members that the Devils could have made the playoffs if they didn’t start Brodeur for so many games.
The distraction of having possibly the best goalie of all time sitting on your bench causes a headache for everyone. We saw how annoyed both Schneider and Brodeur got at times when they weren’t getting the playing time they felt they deserved. Putting head coach Peter DeBoer in that situation will only make his job harder.
Brodeur will likely sign with a new team within the next week. If you are a Devils fan, do not hate him. The Devils would probably offer him a contract because they feel like they owe him, but it would be a bad situation. It will be sad when he isn’t a Devil anymore, but it had to happen eventually.
We cannot blame anyone, because it truly is the best situation for everyone involved. Brodeur gets to have some extra playing time with a new team. Schneider gets to be the No. 1 guy for the first time in his career. DeBoer doesn’t have a hard decision on a daily basis. Lou Lamoriello doesn’t have to decide whether to sign the team’s best player of all time.
Devils fans don’t have to wonder “what if” when it comes to whether Brodeur started on that night. You can’t hate Brodeur, because he will be a Devil forever.