NHL Free Agency: Re-Signing Martin Brodeur Keeps the Devils as Contenders

Steven Slivka@@StevenSlivkaCorrespondent IIIJuly 2, 2012

NHL Free Agency: Re-Signing Martin Brodeur Keeps the Devils as Contenders

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    After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals, Martin Brodeur has decided to re-sign with the New Jersey Devils, the only team he's ever known since breaking into the league 20 years ago.

    Brodeur signed a two-year/$9 million deal Monday morning with New Jersey and will most likely finish off what's left of his illustrious career there.

    Although his appearances in the last few seasons have decreased, Brodeur has still managed to make clutch save after clutch save to keep the Devils in the running for the Stanley Cup.

    In 2012, he finished with 31 wins, one of the lowest totals in his NHL career.

    During the postseason, however, was when he was at his best. This phenomenon, which seems to synchronize like clockwork, is one of the reasons Brodeur is the greatest goalie of all-time.

    Here are five reasons why he makes New Jersey Stanley Cup contenders in 2013.

Postseason Success Will Fuel Start of Next Season

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    The New Jersey Devils finished the regular season in 2012 as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference and were forced to begin their first three series' on the road.

    After a thrilling seven-game standoff with the Florida Panthers, Brodeur cruised through the rest of the postseason until meeting L.A. in the Stanley Cup Finals.

    He was able to slow down a high-flying Philadelphia attack in the Eastern Conference semifinals by holding them to just 11 goals in five games.

    Against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals, Brodeur's .927 save percentage helped the Devils win the series against the best team in the East.

    Despite a mediocre regular season, he was able to show off his "God-like" goaltending skills in the playoffs, even at the age of 40.

    Look for the Devils' deep run in the playoffs to spark a fast start to the 2012-13 season.

Early Re-Signing Allows for Devils to Work with Other Free Agents

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    The Devils didn't waste any time re-signing Brodeur's contract, something that can only help them in the long run.

    With Zach Parise being one of the most sought after free agents on the market, New Jersey doesn't have to worry about juggling the funds between its life-long goalie and its up-and-coming star.

    According to sportsoverdose.com, the Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers have already reached out to Parise about a deal.

    If Parise decides to leave New Jersey because of money, the Devils will still have Brodeur between the pipes and some cash to sign a decent forward.

Continuing His Legacy

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    When great players stay with one team for their entire career, it makes their legacy that much more exciting and meaningful.

    Brett Favre's, legacy took a serious hit when he retired, then un-retired a handful of times, making his decision to play in the NFL that much more difficult.

    Not to mention he was continuously bashed because of his inability to make up his mind.

    Brodeur has only suited up for one team during his 20 years in the NHL. Fans respect him much more because of it.

    He's scheduled to make nearly $1 million less than he did last season, but money isn't the deciding factor for him.

    The amount of respect Brodeur gets from New Jersey makes him No. 1 in the hearts of Devils fans everywhere, which is why they want to see him win another Stanley Cup before he calls it quits.

He Can Still Play

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    Brodeur's 2011-12 campaign would be considered great for most goalies. But for him, 31 wins and only three shutouts is average at best.

    He finished the regular season 14th in the NHL in wins, 15th in GAA and 22nd in total saves.

    Mediocrity aside, Brodeur showed in the postseason that he shines brightest on the biggest stage by making huge saves that young goalies can only dream of making.

    When high-profile forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise were reduced to nothing in the Stanley Cup Finals, Brodeur was the only consistent player for the Devils.

    With every mind-bending save came the "Marty" chant from the Prudential Center. The rest of the team fed off the energy he brought to the home crowd.

    He's still more than capable of doing it for another two seasons.

He Wants to Go out on Top

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    Even though he already has three to his name, Brodeur wants to retire from the NHL with the Stanley Cup.

    New Jersey did the best job of any team the L.A. Kings faced in the postseason in terms of containing their relentless attack. Unfortunately for Brodeur, Jonathan Quick was minding the net on the other side of the ice.

    Just like Marc Recchi and Ray Bourque before him, going out on top would be ideal for Brodeur, who already holds every single goaltending record in the NHL.

    Despite his numerous achievements, a fourth Stanley Cup would be the ultimate prize for him, as he'll leave behind one of the greatest careers in the history of professional sports.