According to an article released today by New York Post, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur says he is strongly considering returning for the 2012-2013 season. While Brodeur is in the last year of his contract, there has been much speculation as to whether the franchise goaltender would retire or return for one more season. While Brodeur’s answers in the New York Post were not definite he did state:
“I feel differently about it now than I did last summer, or at the start of the season. It’s not 100 percent, but I’m definitely leaning toward coming back next year” -Martin Brodeur (Via New York Post)
While the return of a living legend like Brodeur seems extremely advantageous there certainly are some negative effects as well.
The Good: The return of Brodeur would keep the longest tenured Devil in the locker room, adding to the leadership, morale, and face of the team. It would give the players and fans one last go ’round with arguably the greatest goaltender in NHL history and face of the New Jersey franchise. With Brodeur in the teams arsenal there is always the possibility for him to steal games from the opposition. It has been a trend throughout his career of producing a high level of goaltending that has the capability of dominating even the best of teams.
The Bad: While some people may think, What could be bad about bringing back Martin Brodeur? I give you this. While Brodeur is still a good goaltender he has certainly dropped from his previous position among the leagues elite. Brodeur still has the ability to play with the best of them and perform just as good as any goalie out there. However, it is his inconsistency that has placed Brodeur a step below the elite goaltenders.
You never know which Brodeur you’re going to get from one night to the next. There are games where he shows up and dominates, and equally as many games where he takes the ice looking lost and lacking confidence, usually resulting in soft goals and a poor overall performance. Brodeur currently holds a 13-10 record with 27 starts, he also has been pulled 4 times this season. This record is not reflective of his usual trend of winning seasons, nor does it support his typical level of play.
Money will play an issue for the Devils organization, after all professional sports is first and foremost a business. With Brodeur returning for one more season, I highly doubt he will earn his current annual figure of 5.2 million dollars. I think the Devils front office will try to work him down to a more reasonable figure of 2.5 to 3 million on a one year deal. Even with a reduced salary signing Brodeur will still take money away from the Devils that they could use to resign other players, or pick up free agents. Of course when you talk about contracts and money the Zach Parise issue naturally find its way into the conversation. If the Devils intend to keep Parise, the return of Brodeur could impact that financially, leaving less money to offer Parise up front.
The Ugly: The fact is that while Brodeur is still a good goaltender, he is getting old, his game is slowing down, and he is suffering from injuries more often. Whether it be a major injury or a slight tweak, Brodeur is playing more games under 100% as his career goes on. He misses small stints of games from tweaking injuries that interrupt his flow and overall performance.
The last thing anyone wants to see is his career end due to an injury. With slight injuries becoming somewhat of a trend with Brodeur, it is getting more and more possible that a major injury, like that of the 2008-2009 season when Brodeur tore his bicep, could happen again. This of course could most certainly result in the end of his career. With his durability decreasing over the years, his game has also decreased as well. While Brodeur has struggled to find a medium between a high level or play and poor performances, his overall level of play is still acceptable for the NHL.
However, it leads one to wonder how much longer he can keep it up, as it seems Brodeur has more off nights sneaking their way into is game every year. The game of hockey is only getting faster from one season to the next. It is certainly not the same game it was when he entered the league and its hard to say that it remains constant from one season to the next. The last thing anyone wants to see is a broken down, beaten Brodeur skate off the ice for the last time after a disappointing season.
Overall, it is only slightly past the halfway point of the season, what the rest of the season has in store for both the Devils and Brodeur has yet to be seen. But one can almost guarantee that whatever the result is will certainly have an impact on his decision. As a fan it is always something special to see your franchise player give it one more go, however it is also something that can be disappointing for the fans as well as the player if they are unable to play to their level.