Martin Brodeur is an unrestricted free agent and may be suiting up for a team other than the New Jersey Devils for the first time in his long and storied career.
The 21-year veteran has been to the playoffs 19 times and won three Stanley Cups. He is the all-time leader among goalies in wins, shutouts and games played.
He led the Devils back to the Stanley Cup Finals this past season with a fine performance in the playoffs.
Now, he has an extremely important decision to make regarding his future. Here, in order, are the best places for Brodeur to go.
1. New Jersey Devils
There is still a chance that Brodeur will be back in New Jersey this season.
As TSN’s Darren Dreger reports, “Brodeur isn't keen on leaving the Devils, but he is serious about testing the open market.”
If the Devils put forth a semi-respectable deal, the future Hall of Famer would likely take it. But as Dreger notes, New Jersey has not put out an offer.
Brodeur is a legend and an icon in the Devils’ franchise. The front office would be doing a disservice to everyone involved with the team if they do not bring him back. The goalie has earned the right to play out his career as a Devil, and New Jersey is clearly the best place for him.
Brodeur is not used to losing, and it would be unexpected if he leaves and goes to a team that cannot contend for a title. The Blackhawks are just two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup victory and are one the teams that are interested in signing Brodeur, according to Dreger’s report.
Chicago finished 22nd in the NHL in goals-against average, and neither Corey Crawford nor Ray Emery were especially impressive last season.
Brodeur can be the rock between the posts that the Blackhawks need to make another title run.
3. Florida Panthers
The Panthers took the Devils to seven games in a hard-fought first-round series. If Broduer had been in the net for Florida instead of Jose Theodore or Scott Clemmensen, the closely contested matchup may have ended differently.
The Panthers are another team in the market for a goaltender, and they are keeping tabs on Brodeur’s situations, per Dreger’s article.
Florida proved that they could compete with the Devils, and Brodeur could make the difference in the postseason for them next season.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are searching for a veteran goaltender, according to Kevin Allen of USA Today, so rumors naturally started swirling when Brodeur hit the free-agent market.
This is the one place that Brodeur must completely avoid. The Leafs have not been in the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. He would certainly help Toronto, but so would any decent player at just about any position.
To add to the case against Toronto, Brodeur is a Montreal native, and his friends and family are likely thinking, "Anyone but the Leafs!"
Any other interested team would provide a better fit for Brodeur.