By: Adam Gretz
The New Jersey Devils are off to a 3-1 start this season and they've done it, for the most part, without the presence of their future Hall of Fame goaltender, Martin Brodeur, who has been bothered by a shoulder injury in the early going. That injury is going to keep him on the shelf for at least another seven to 10 days, according to the team on Wednesday afternoon.
Said first-year coach Pete Deboer, "Obviously when you’ve got a guy like Marty you want to take a cautious approach and a long-term approach, anyway, that he’s with you for the entire year. But it definitely makes it easier when you’ve got a guy that’s capable of coming in and playing like Heddy has.”
"Heddy," of course, is a reference to Devils backup goaltender Johan Hedberg, who will continue to make starts in the absence of Brodeur. And given the Devils' upcoming schedule, including five games over the next week, four of which come on a road trip through the Western Conference, he'll have plenty of opportunities. Fortunately for New Jersey Hedberg has proven himself to be more than capable of filling in.
Is he a player that you want starting 60 games for you over the course of a season? Not at all. But as a backup and fill-in he's a solid option, and has played well in his three appearances this season, stopping 69 of the 73 shots he's faced. Over the prevous two full seasons, one of which was spent with the Atlanta Thrashers and the other (last year) with the Devils, he's recorded save percentages of .915 and .912. So things could certainly be worse in the short-term.
Still, the Devils have a rough stretch of games coming up starting with a home game against San Jose on Friday, before heading on the road for games at Pittsburgh (the following night), Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas.
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