If the New Jersey Devils bring back future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur next season, coach Peter DeBoer is prepared for it just in case.
For the first time in his career, Brodeur was outperformed by a teammate. In this case it was Cory Schneider who put up superior numbers and earned more starts. Brodeur spoke often about how he might need to go elsewhere next season if the Devils don’t want him back.
If Brodeur does return to Newark, the coach won’t be caught off guard as Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger shares.
“Those decisions are made above me, but if Lou (Lamoriello) and Marty decide that it’s best for everybody, absolutely we’d welcome him back,” DeBoer said.
“If those two decide it’s in the best interests of everybody that he comes back, of course we’d welcome him back. I mean, why wouldn’t we? He’s a great teammate, a great pro.”
It’s clear at this point in his career that Brodeur, 42, is more of a backup than a starter. His numbers compared to Schneider’s last season bore that out. Brodeur stopped pucks at a decidedly average .901 clip while Schneider did so at a .921 save percentage.
Brodeur still has the desire and the wont to start, but it might make more sense for the Devils to give Schneider more starts than he had last season if they want to return to the playoffs.
Last night very well may have been Martin Brodeur’s final appearance in a New Jersey Devils uniform.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Brodeur told Devils GM Lou Lamoriello he wants out and the team will try to accommodate him.
According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, Brodeur also wants to play again next season which may be the wrench in the works for the Devils as Cory Schneider is very clearly their No. 1 netminder. LeBrun adds that the Devils are OK with keeping Brodeur as well, but they’d like to do best to respect his wishes and move him to a contender.
The issue in moving Brodeur is that the goalie market has changed drastically since yesterday. With Ilya Bryzgalov in Minnesota, Viktor Fasth in Edmonton, and the Roberto Luongo deal to Florida, teams that may have needed goalie help have all found solutions elsewhere.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello knows his team is battling to make the playoffs and he’s ready to be a buyer, not a seller, at the trade deadline. (Fire & Ice)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
One columnist says Lightning captain Martin St. Louis needs to start thinking like a captain. (The Tampa Tribune)
A couple of Maple Leafs notes: Dave Bolland had a mild setback at practice yesterday. He’s still joining the Leafs on their road trip and is still day-to-day. (Canadian Press)
Leafs center Trevor Smith sees his recovery from a broken hand coming near its completion. (Toronto Sun)
The Olympics fired up Winnipeg Jets center Olli Jokinen to keep winning back in Manitoba. They’re in the mix for the postseason. (Winnipeg Free Press)
If you missed Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth’s save on Boston forward Loui Eriksson during the second period of the Sabres’ 5-4 overtime victory, you really need to get caught up on that. That’s an ice cold way to stop an Olympic teammate.
This story with Devils forward Dainius Zubrus discussing what’s going on in Ukraine is worth a read. While he was born in what’s now Lithuania, his family spent time in Ukraine growing up. (NJ.com)
After showing off a save, how about a look at Gustav Nyquist’s game-winning goal in overtime against Montreal.
Martin Brodeur’s future in New Jersey has become a hot topic of late and isn’t likely to cool off.
Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports Brodeur met with Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to discuss his future with the team. Brodeur has mentioned this season how it’s been difficult being relegated to backup duty behind Cory Schneider and would be OK with going to a contender if it’s best for the Devils.
The awkward part of that thinking, however, is that Brodeur isn’t the same goalie he’s been in the past and his numbers bear that out. His save percentage (.899) and goals-against average (2.52) are the worst they’ve been in his 20-year career.
Schneider has been the better goalie this season and Brodeur’s career is nearly at an end. If he needs to go elsewhere to finish his career, it would be very strange seeing him not in a Devils uniform.
The New Jersey Devils have an interesting problem on the blue line. They have a glut of young talent itching to stay in the NHL.
Defensemen Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, and Adam Larsson are all players the Devils value highly, yet Merrill is the only one currently on the New Jersey roster as older veterans hold down the fort.
So what gives? GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t looking to speed up their development as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice shares.
“Adam Larsson, Gelly and Merrill, they’re all going to be in the NHL. They’ll all be here,” Lamoriello said. “We’re not going to rush them. We’re going to make sure – if they have to go up, if they have to go down – they get their complete game together so that it’s on a consistent basis. It’s nothing personal with them. It’s nothing that they’re doing wrong. It’s the experience that’s needed. Different styles of play need different experiences. We’ll do everything we can so once they’re here they’ll be a solid contributing factor and play the minutes that are necessary to play.”
A big thing to keep in mind here: Gelinas and Merrill are 22 years old and Larsson is 21. It’s not like they’re rotting on the vine in the AHL at Albany. With veteran players like Anton Volchenkov, Marek Zidlicky, and captain Bryce Salvador locked in place, there’s not much room for the younger guys.
They’ll eventually have their time in the sun, it’s just not going to be right away. Sorry Devils fans, Lou’s orders.