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You can’t start an article like this without paying tribute to everything Martin Brodeur has done as a New Jersey Devil. Thursday, January 29 in St. Louis, the famed goaltender announced his retirement from what was supposed to be his encore season, in which he was supposed to reach one last milestone (700 wins), go on his official farewell tour, and have one last shot at a Stanley Cup. That didn’t go quite as planned. Despite his final seven games not being in a Devils uniform, it doesn’t change what a privilege it has been to call Martin Brodeur our goaltender the past 20 years.
The championships, consecutive playoff runs, and winning culture Brodeur was such a pivotal part of in New Jersey was a luxury we experienced that some fanbases haven’t even come close to. Devils fans should consider themselves very fortunate that they were able to witness one of, if not the, greatest goaltender in NHL history donning the horns and tail on his chest every night. We were able to witness him leave behind a remarkable legacy, and a record-breaking career which may never be surpassed.
Brodeur will remain in St. Louis as a senior advisor to the general manager to begin his post-playing career, at least for this season. Since he has an opportunity to start this next stage of his life by adding another Stanley Cup ring to his collection, we should feel all the more fortunate for Brodeur’s new situation in the Blues front office. After this season, however, Marty is expected to return to New Jersey, be given a great job, and have his number swaying from the rafters of the Prudential Center where it rightfully belongs.
Both Lou Lamoriello and Brodeur have reiterated that a management position was reserved for Marty when he concluded his storied career. Nobody envisioned Brodeur finishing his playing days with another team when these plans were made, but it is valuable experience for Brodeur moving forward.
Having failed to make the playoffs three of his last four years with the Devils, coming into the winning culture that’s formed in St. Louis must be an enlightening experience for Brodeur. It’s an ideal environment to gain a unique perspective compared to his time in Jersey, along with valuable experience on how to develop and run a contending organization in the modern cap era, something that Lamoriello has struggled with. Considering the championships and Stanley Cup Finals appearances on Brodeur’s track record, general manager Doug Armstrong could certainly benefit from having a winner of Brodeur’s caliber on his staff, especially if he helps the organization capture their first title.
Even if he remains in St. Louis beyond this season, he could return to New Jersey with what can be described as a prototypical perspective that incorporates his extensive knowledge on the philosophy and mechanics of the Devils organization and with the Blues. Lou Lamoriello’s performance in recent years has been uncharacteristic at the very least, which has led many to question Lamoriello’s ability to maintain the regular and postseason success in the salary cap era that he’s had in his first 20 years with the organization. If Brodeur is a potential candidate to one day succeed Lamoriello, this prototypical outlook Marty could form from however much time he spends in the Blues front office could be what the Devils need to return to their winning ways in this modern age in hockey. He could follow a long line of players-turned-general managers such Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, and Garth Snow just to mention a few.
With Brodeur becoming part of the Blues front office, he might advocate on behalf of any assets the Devils make available at the trade deadline. While the Blues are pretty set in all three categories, they’re in a tight cap situation. Unless they send salary the other way, they won’t have much wiggle room. If anything, they could shop for a bottom-six forward or third pair defenseman.
Lou doesn’t do it as often as he’s acquired players that previously played for him, but he has traded players back to teams they previously played for. Having traded Jamie Langenbrunner to Dallas (2011) and Henrik Tallinder back to Buffalo (2013), Lou could do the same to give his captain, Bryce Salvador, one last shot at winning a Stanley Cup, by sending him back to the team he started his career with. Of bottom-six quality, St. Louis could look into forwards like Michael Ryder, Steve Bernier, or even Danius Zubrus.
Without a doubt, Martin Brodeur’s number 30 will hang from the rafters of the Prudential Center in the near future. Forever a Devil, how soon could we see Brodeur in the Devils front office, and at what position? Is it possible that Brodeur could be groomed into the next Devils GM by the likes of Doug Armstrong and Lou Lamoriello? Share your thoughts with us!