With big-money contracts going to goalies on almost every NHL team and most backup spots covered as well, it’s easy to see why free agent netminders are struggling to find the right gig. Just imagine how challenging it must be for a the league’s all-time wins leader.
Almost two weeks after the free agent frenzy kicked off, Martin Brodeur finds himself without a contract for the 2014-15 season. His agent indicates that such a scenario isn’t causing any panic. In fact, it could be a very fluid situation that isn’t even resolved when next season kicks off, as the Bergen Record reports.
“On or around July 1, we explored a few possibilities for Marty that made somewhat sense. That didn’t come to fruition,” Pat Brisson said. “Marty has a lot to offer, but it will be the right fit and this may come later this summer or even early in the season. He is in no rush until the right fit appears.
“In the meantime he is getting ready the same way he has the past 20 seasons.”
As it stands, it’s tough to peg many/any contenders who would be able to give the 42-year-old the prominent sort of role he wants. Brodeur seems open-minded about a backup role, yet even then he’d aim for “20-30 games.” The lower-end of that window is fairly standard for No. 2 guys,* yet he might want more reps than many teams are comfortable with right now.
It’s pretty easy to see why an in-season trade would actually make more sense, though.
Injuries happen, and some franchises might prefer going with a big-name free agent addition instead of giving up assets in a trade. Pekka Rinne, Cam Ward and basically any goalie who put on a Minnesota Wild jersey last season provide evidence that one goalie’s bad luck could open the door for one last Brodeur run.
Sure, his numbers haven’t been impressive for some time, but it’s easy to imagine a GM being more comfortable going with a future Hall-of-Famer in net instead of calling up an AHL goalie or rolling the dice with another unsigned free agent.
Of course, there’s also the real possibility that Brodeur will run out of options and just retire. It’s difficult to say what might happen, but it could be an interesting situation to watch.
* – Sixty-one netminders played at least 20 games in 2013-14. Thirty-eight managed to appear in at least 30.