Top Shelf: Brodeur still searching for new hockey home
By Dan Di Sciullo, NHL Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Martin Brodeur doesn't seem interested in pulling a Brett Favre.
While Favre drifted back and forth from retired to un-retired over the last few years of his NFL career, Brodeur is approaching his twilight years as an NHL goaltender much differently.
Unlike the aforementioned gun-slinging quarterback, Brodeur isn't even the one bringing up the word retirement. When the "R" word comes up regarding the longtime New Jersey Devils goaltender it's usually because Brodeur is being asked the question.
Never one to dodge the media's queries, Brodeur has spoken on the subject of retirement quite a bit, but the 42-year-old goaltender's primary focus is still to play in 2014-15 even though that almost certainly means leaving the only NHL team he's ever known behind.
But here we are a month since the NHL's free agency period began and Brodeur's still in need of a home for the upcoming season. With Cory Schneider recently signed by the Devils to a seven-year, $42 million contract extension and Scott Clemmensen and Keith Kinkaid expected to challenge each other for the backup spot, it's become apparent Brodeur will have to look outside the Garden State for his next NHL gig.
Earlier this week New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello all but confirmed that notion when he described how the Devils and their longtime franchise backstop decided to mutually part ways.
"I think it's time to move forward, but never negate what Marty has brought (to the Devils), nor was the door ever shut," said Lamoriello. "It was a mutual understanding of what was best for both parties."
While the Devils are turning the page on Brodeur and the three Stanley Cup titles he helped bring to Jersey, it's hard to gauge what interest the rest of the league has for the aging goaltender. The fact that the future Hall of Famer did not have the best showing in 2013-14 is not helping his case.
Brodeur posted a 2.51 goals against average and .901 save percentage in 39 appearances last season. Schneider, meanwhile, logged a 1.97 GAA and .921 save percentage while seeing action in 46 games for the Devils. By the end of the season it was clear New Jersey needed to hand the keys to their 28-year-old netminder, particularly after yielding the ninth overall pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft to acquire the former Vancouver goalie.
Although the numbers -- both statistically and in terms of age -- are not in Brodeur's favor he does have the right attitude to get another shot to play in 2014-15. Speaking via email with the Bergen Record earlier this month, Brodeur's agent, Pat Brisson, is willing to wait until after the season begins to fid an opportunity that suits him.
"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," Brisson told the newspaper. "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."
Since last season's trade deadline, rumors have been swirling that Brodeur eventually will wind up with the Minnesota Wild. The club could need the depth between the pipes considering it went through a slew of goaltenders last season. Playing for the Wild would also give Brodeur a chance to be close to his son, William, who is entering his final season with hockey factory Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota.
It may not be until November or December, but there's an excellent chance an injury is going to allow Brodeur to catch on with a new team. Even then, however, it seems a stretch to think the goaltender is going to get a real shot at becoming a No. 1 goaltender for a contending team.
There is one other major difference between Brodeur and Favre outside of the one previously mentioned. It seems that while the quarterback was stepping towards retirement he was constantly being chased by NFL teams trying to squeeze the last bit of magic out of Favre's big arm. As recently as last season, the St. Louis Rams attempted to lure the QB out of retirement, but this time Favre turned down their advances.
Unlike Favre, Brodeur is the one certain he has more to offer. It's the rest of the NHL which needs convincing.
08/01 14:58:25 ET