Although coming so close at 40 years of age must have been frustrating for Martin Brodeur, there's still the possibility he'll give it another try, as he has yet to announce or decide on his future.
One feasible option would be to go for Jonathan Bernier or Josh Harding this summer. Both are inexperienced enough that if Brodeur was to return, they would likely be content playing backup. But if he decided to call it quits, they also have the skill to step up.
In addition, neither of these guys are big-name goaltenders who could create issues with re-signing Zach Parise and working along side Ilya Kovalchuk's monstrous contract.
On the other hand, if Lamoriello believes Martin Brodeur will be back based on their conversations thus far, he could make a run at goaltending prospects Andrei Vasilevski and Malcolm Subban (both expected to go in the late first round). He could then hope the draft pick is NHL ready by the time Brodeur hangs up the glove, or he could sign some experienced, low-paying goaltenders to hold down the fort in the meantime.
While both these scenarios seem reasonable, it's important to consider the risks involved with lack of experience.
Sure, all the players listed above have potential, and Bernier and Harding even have a little NHL experience, but it will surely be a daunting task to play in the footsteps of one of the best goalies to ever play the game.
Who do you picture between the pipes in New Jersey three years from now?
Martin Brodeur created a legacy in New Jersey throughout his four Vezina Trophies, three Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. This city has enjoyed 21 years of being able to count on Brodeur night in and night out to shine, and he never let them down.
It would be a stretch to assume that after all this time of perfection, the New Jersey fanbase will suddenly be forgiving and understanding of a new goaltender.
When looking at the situation from this perspective, suddenly a player like Roberto Luongo seems possible. Sure, he has his struggles, but he's consistently brought the Canucks to the playoffs with solid numbers along the way. And Vancouver isn't exactly easy on goaltenders either.
So where does this leave us?
Basically back at square one.
All three approaches listed have their pros, and they have their cons.
It all depends on what train of thought Lou Lamoriello is on; and for that matter, it all depends on Zach Parise as well.