Martin Brodeur — who turned 40 on May 6 — is set to join an elite club of goalies this season.
The New Jersey Devils netminder will become just one of a handful to play past the age of 40 since the lockout, and one of a smaller handful to be the starter.
Let’s take a look at the history…
Ed Belfour, Toronto/Florida
Belfour turned 40 a few months prior to the first post-lockout season, and it didn’t go very well (his 2005-06 numbers: 22-22-4, .892 save percentage, .329 GAA.) Those were way off the numbers he posted pre-lockout (in 2003-04, he had 10 shutouts) and suddenly, Belfour looked to be Exhibit A of Veteran Players That Couldn’t Adapt To The New NHL.
But in a weird twist, he signed in Florida the next season and — at age 41 — improved.
He played 58 games in 2006-07 and went 27-17-10 with a .902 save percentage and 2.77 GAA…yet the Panthers decided to cut him loose after the year. It would be his final season in the NHL.
Dominik Hasek, Ottawa/Detroit
Hasek played three years after the lockout with his most impressive campaign coming in 2006-07. Hasek went 38-11-6 with a .913 save percentage, 2.05 GAA and eight shutouts — and turned 42 midway through the season.
What’s truly remarkable about 2006-07 is Hasek played in 18 games that postseason, pushing his overall total on the year to 74. Seventy four games for a 42-year-old is, like, a lot (some quality PHT analysis right there.)
In a related story, Hasek now wants to come back to the NHL — at age 47.
Dwayne Roloson, Tampa Bay/New York Islanders
Roloson’s exploits in his first year with the Lightning — four shutouts in 34 regular season games, backstopping Tampa to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals — were diminished by last year’s disastrous campaign. But they shouldn’t be.
What Roloson accomplished after turning 40 is wildly impressive. In 2009-10, he posted a winning record (23-18-7) on a losing Islanders team (34-37-11). A year later, he made 71 appearances (20 with NYI, 34 with TB, 17 in the playoffs).
Curtis Joseph kicked around Calgary and Toronto after turning 40, but served strictly in a backup role.
Sean Burke turned 40 midway through his last and only year with the Kings (2006-07), splitting time with Mathieu Garon and Dan Cloutier.
Of note, Nikolai Khabibulin turns 40 on Jan. 13 and could very well be the starter in Edmonton at that time.