This won't come as much of a surprise to anyone, but Martin Brodeur's NHL career is starting to wind down. As the 42-year-old goaltender is set to hit free agency come July 1, it is unlikely he ends his career with the only organization he has ever known in the New Jersey Devils. However, wherever he goes next, is likely where he'll end his NHL career.
Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of The Record 2014-15 is likely his last in the league.
“It's going to be probably my last year,” the NHL's all-time leader in wins and shutouts told The Record today. “You never know what kind of energy I'm going to get from my decision, but I'm not looking for anything more than one year that's for sure.”
“I'm going to give myself the opportunity to look at what's out there and see if there's something that's interesting to me,” he said. “It doesn't mean it's not going to be in New Jersey, but I'm going to look everywhere, like I did two years ago. But now, the circumstances are a lot different with having [Cory Schneider] here, so we'll see.”
Brodeur seems to understand the Devils would be better off without him playing next season even though he didn't rule out a return. He also noted to Gulitti that he hopes to return to the organization in some capacity in the future. For that reason, he'd like to see them secure a long-term option in net and that should be Schneider, who has one year left on his current contract.
With Schneider hoping for 60 appearances or more next season, Brodeur probably wouldn't be content with riding the pine that much.
Brodeur's assertion he's not looking for anything more than one year may help open the field for him a bit as a free agent. Teams looking for a stop-gap starter or experienced backup are likely going to give Brodeur a shot.
It is quite clear his skills have been in decline for some time, but this is a guy that helped lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final just two years ago. He also has three Stanley Cups and a boatload of other individual awards and records.
The veteran netminder has appeared in 1,259 NHL games over his career and has a career save percentage of .912. That's been on the decline over the last four years as Brodeur hasn't posted a better mark than .908 in 2011-12. Over each of his last two seasons, Brodeur has had an unsightly .901 save percentage.
Though Brodeur is likely to end his career in a different jersey and likely with some poor numbers as well, he -- like all players -- deserves the right to call it a career whenever they want. He might not be the goaltender he once was, but for the right deal, a cheap one, he could help a few teams in some ways. Just probably not as a No. 1.
Brodeur seems less concerned about career legacy than he is getting one more chance. He has said repeatedly in recent interviews that he would like to be a starter in the right situation, but would be willing to be a backup for a contending team.
He'll remain one of the game's all-time great goaltenders regardless of what happens next season in what is likely his farewell tour.