Big news out of New Jersey on Friday as face of the franchise and surefire Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur has announced he’s going to hit free agency.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m definitely going to be available July 1,” Brodeur told ESPN.com. “I want to play one more season and I want to see what’s out there.”
The news comes on the same day New Jersey’s other goalie, Cory Schneider, said he wanted assurances he’d be the clear-cut No. 1 for the Devils after splitting games with Brodeur this year.
Schneider also holds some leverage, given he’s an unrestricted free agent following this season.
“It’s a discussion about if they want me to be the guy going forward, we have to figure out that part of it,” Schneider said, per the Star-Ledger. “I’m probably 50 or 75 games short of where I would have liked to be as far as career games-played. That’s a result of splitting the time in goal in Vancouver as well as last year.
“I was hoping to step into that (No. 1 role) maybe a little earlier.”
Brodeur, 42, has spent his entire 23-year career with the Devils, winning three Stanley Cups and four Vezina Trophies. He’s also the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, wins and shutouts.
In light of all that, it’ll be very interesting to see who takes a chance on Brodeur this summer — or, if someone takes a chance. Brodeur hasn’t ruled out a return to the Devils entirely, but feels the club needs to move forward with Schneider and his presence in New Jersey could make that difficult. As for other teams, Brodeur said he’d accept a No. 2 gig on a team “that has a really good chance to win a Stanley Cup,” and didn’t rule out the possibility of challenging for a starting job elsewhere.
“If I go for a No. 1 job, it’s going to depend on the situation,” he explained. “I think there are teams that can use me.”
Worth noting that teams could be leery of bringing Brodeur on as a No. 2. His presence might make the starter’s life much more difficult, in the sense of fans/media calling for a switch in goal at the first sign of the No. 1 struggling. (This is a variant of the always-popular “put in the backup QB” shout, which is often followed by the “oh, that’s why he’s the backup” shout.)
Regardless, the Brodeur-going-to-market narrative will be a fun one to monitor over the next three weeks.