NHL: A Look at the New Jersey Devils Goaltending Prospects Playing Elsewhere
Over the years, Brodeur has won three Stanley Cups, broken almost every goaltending record and has missed minimal time due to injury. However, with 21 years under his belt and a lockout looming, the next few seasons may be the last we see of the Hall of Fame goaltender.
Between Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, the combined age of the New Jersey Devils goaltenders is 79, making them the oldest duo in the league. Both signed two year deals in the offseason to finish their careers in New Jersey, but the organization is going to have to start looking elsewhere to fill the potential void in net.
Between the AHL, ECHL and college commitments, the Devils currently have five goaltenders on the radar that could potentially replace Brodeur in net. Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee, Scott Wedgewood, Maxime Clermont and Chris Rawlings all had impressive rookie camps this year, and fans may see these players a lot more over the next few years.
Here is a look at where each goaltender is playing now and how they are faring during the 2012-2013 season.
One of the worst things to be called in sports is a bust, but so far that is what Jeff Frazee has become.
Since being drafted 38th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, Frazee has seen minimal time at the NHL level and has struggled with the organization's AHL affiliate. In his previous six seasons, Frazee has a record of 67-75-11 with an average GAA of 2.73.
At the age of 25, Frazee still has a chance to prove himself and make a move for the NHL roster once Martin Brodeur retires. However, if he wants to reach hockey's highest level, he will need to improve on his career numbers.
So far this season, it seems that Frazee is on track to have a career year. In six games with the AHL's Albany Devils, Frazee is 2-1-2 with an impressive 1.97 GAA and has been the team's best option in net so far.
While he may not be the best option to replace a Hall of Famer in New Jersey, Frazee still may prove himself and make his way to the NHL after seven years.
The AHL's other option in net is Keith Kinkaid, another young prospect that the New Jersey Devils are high on.
Kinkaid signed an entry-level contract in 2011 after his sophomore year with Union College and has become the split-starter with Jeff Frazee for the Albany Devils in the AHL.
So far, Kinkaid has posted a 1-4-2 record with a 2.39 GAA and one shutout. While Kinkaid has appeared in one more game then Frazee, he has not been the better goalie thus far.
Kinkaid has the prestigious accomplishments under his belt, including the 2009 NAHL MVP, 2009 Robertson Champion and 2009 NAHL Top Goaltender. However, Kinkaid is 18-24-5 in 49 games with Albany since last season.
At 23, Kinkaid is at an age where he still has plenty of room to grow. Playing in the AHL after only two years of college is a good sign, but he will have to outplay Frazee to get extended playing time.
Of the Devils' young prospects in net, Scott Wedgewood may have fans the most excited.
Wedgewood was drafted 84th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft and signed an entry level contract with the organization in March. While playing in the OHL, Wedgewood posted a 61-39-5 record with with six shutouts (source: ESPN).
At 19, Wedgewood is the youngest of the Devils' goaltending prospects to come to rookie camp and many expect him to shine as a goaltender down the road. However, because of Kinkaid and Frazee playing in the AHL, Wedgewood was loaned to the ECHL for the 2012-2013 season.
In eight games with the Trenton Titans, Wedgewood has a record of 4-3 with a 2.62 GAA. He is getting the minutes he needs to grow in the ECHL, but we won't know more about his potential until he gets to face better competition.
Maxime Clermont was also drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 2010 NHL Draft, but was taken much later then Scott Wedgewood.
However, like Wedgewood, Clermont is getting playing time in the ECHL with both AHL roster spots filled. Playing for the Elmira Jackals, Clermont has a 1-3-1 record with a 2.90 GAA.
Clermont is 20 years old, so he also has room for improvement. However, we won't see too much of him unless he makes his way back to the AHL.
Of all the goalies who came to rookie camp this year, none performed up to the level of camp invite Chris Rawlings.
Rawlings, a four year starter at Northeastern, has posted a career record of 39-41-15 with a 2.74 GAA. He has not been signed by the Devils or drafted by any means, but he could make a nice addition to the minors if the Devils offer him a deal.
Rawlings has seen time during the Islanders' training camp (see above), but has returned to Northeastern for his senior year. We will see what happens to him after this year, but he is certainly someone to keep an eye on in the future.