The excitement surrounding the 2014 NHL draft and the start of free agency has many hockey fans turning their attention to where future first-ballot Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur will sign this offseason.
At 42 years old, Brodeur’s best days are behind him, but there is little doubt that he still has the ability to be a contributing factor on a winning team. Even with the New Jersey Devils struggling around him during the 2013-14 campaign, the veteran still managed to amass a 19-14-6 record, a 2.51 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.
There will undoubtedly be interest when free agency starts on July 1, and Louis Jean of TVA Sports is reporting that at least four playoff contenders have shown interest in the impending unrestricted free agent:
Among the interested teams in Brodeur: Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh & Toronto. Brodeur wants to go to a contender.— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) June 28, 2014
Before the NHL draft, Brodeur told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger about how his camp is handling the free-agent market and how he is dealing with the pressure as a player who has never played for any other team besides New Jersey:
It’s been really quiet. My agent is the one talking to a lot often teams right now. I think we’re going to wait a little bit, see which teams call in and then see what we’re going to do. With the draft this weekend I think it will pick up after.
I’m really happy, actually. I’m kind of sitting back and enjoying this as much as I can. I’ll see what the opportunities will be when people decide to talk to me. I know there is some interest. I’ll see what the interest is all about when I speak to them.
Brodeur has been in the NHL for an astounding 21 years, and he has played each and every season with the Devils. It will be jarring for any hockey fan to see the legend in another team’s colors, but that’s a reality that is likely coming to fruition.
Sometimes, change is necessary.
The hope now is that Brodeur can find a job that fits him well. If he wants to be a starter, he will have to fight for the job on a team like the Maple Leafs. Toronto may be in need of another goaltender, though, if the latest rumor from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos regarding James Reimer is true:
The more likely scenario is finding a backup role for a legitimate championship contender.
While Brodeur wouldn’t have the spotlight on him as much with a team fighting for a Stanley Cup, he would be able to see ice time in relief of a top netminder and be a stellar second option in case of injuries. Add in the opportunity to go out on top, and this is his best option.
A team like Chicago or Pittsburgh would be much better off with a leader like Brodeur on the depth chart.