NHL Trade Deadline: Martin Brodeur Injury Shows Need for Strong Backup Goalie

Isaac SmithAnalyst IMarch 22, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 01: Martin Brodeur #30 and Johan Hedberg #1 of the New Jersey Devils celebrate a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Devils defeated the Flyers 4-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As the NHL's April 3 trade deadline approaches, there is one position that will be forgotten about in all of the trade deadline madness. That position is the backup goaltender, one of the most important positions in hockey.

When Martin Brodeur left a game during warm-ups against the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 24, New Jersey Devils fans everywhere held their collective breath.

The Devils struggled without Brodeur, falling out of a playoff spot with just three wins in the following 13 games that Brodeur missed.

Factually speaking, this article isn't a rant against Johan Hedberg. "The Moose" was solid over the latter part of the time that Brodeur was out of the lineup, giving up just 10 goals in the last five games before Brodeur's return.

If this had been the playoffs, the Devils would likely be out in the same round in which Brodeur was injured.

On Wednesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, Brodeur was credited with a goal.

The goal was a once-every-five-years event, but what stood out about the game against Carolina is that the Devils gave up just one regulation goal, something that had only happened once during the entire month that Brodeur was injured.

It is easy to give Brodeur credit for the fact that the Devils only gave up one regulation goal, but Brodeur wasn't particularly busy against Carolina, facing just 18 shots on goal.

While it seems obvious, the bottom line from Brodeur's injury is that there is no team in the NHL that will go anywhere without a solid backup goaltender.

Looking at the Stanley Cup championships over the past couple of years, the 2012 Los Angeles Kings had Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier, while the 2011 Boston Bruins had Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask.

The not-so-obvious implication of Martin Brodeur's injury is that, once again, goaltending will be overlooked at the trade deadline.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com speculates on who might make moves in the Eastern Conference and who might make moves in the Western Conference.

But one thing that is notably lacking as far as trade speculation goes in those two articles is goaltending.

As previous Stanley Cup squads have shown, defense does in fact win championships as the old saying goes. Defense starts from the net out, and if a team's starting goaltender gets injured or fails in the limelight, the spotlight shifts to the backup goaltender.

Fans should start wondering: If their favorite team's starting goaltender fails or gets injured, will the team be in trouble?

If so, maybe it is time that team made a move.


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