Allow me to make a baseball/hockey comparison.
Derek Jeter, the shortstop for the New York Yankees, hit only .270 this, clearly the lowest mark he has ever had playing a full season. When his contract expired at the end of the year, there was little speculation Jeter would be let go - Jeter is the face of the Yankees and has been a leader on a team that has won five championships during his playing career.
Martin Brodeur is equal to Derek Jeter. Throughout the team's 15 year run as a member of the NHL elite, Brodeur has always been the rock in net, making the necessary plays to ensure the Devils are successful. He has led his team to three championships, yet, forty games into this season, there has been speculation that he should be moved. Brodeur currently holds a 5-18 record, a 3.15 goals against, and an abysmal .882 save percentage, all of which are career lows for him.
Recently, there has been speculation that Brodeur may be on the trade block if the price is right. Lou has absolutely denied this rumor. I agree with Lou's position.
Like Derek Jeter, Brodeur is the leader of the Devils. In Marty's book, "Beyond the Crease", he discussed how he would probably be captain of the Devils if it were allowed under NHL rules. Though Brodeur has never truly donned the "C", he leads by example and his work ethic inspires others to improve their skills.
This season has been a downer, but Brodeur is the face of the franchise like Derek Jeter. Night in and night out, Brodeur is expected to be in net and is expected to be spectacular. Though many believe the past few years have been downers for Brodeur, his stats show otherwise - his save percentage and goals against have always been at the top of the league, hovering around a .920 and 2.20 respectively. Like Derek Jeter last year, Brodeur is having a bad season right now. Martin has showed to be a leader even more this year than in past years. Just yesterday, in reaction to the Langenbrunner trade, Brodeur spoke to the Devils strong nucleus and encouraged his team to play for next year. I agree with this philosophy. Throughout the team's struggles, he has never complained to the press, choosing to improve his skills (Martin is currently the "co-starter" with Hedberg so that he can get work out some mechanical issues) rather than throw his defense under the bus.
Just as no one predicted the Devils landslide this year just, no one predicted the debacle we currently have in our defense. The Devils have always had a strong defense, but this year, we are terrible, giving up more than 3 goals per game. As with your defense, as with your goalie. The fact is that Brodeur will have a terrific season for the Devils next year and for years to come if the defense is solid. There is no reason to blame Marty for giving up goals his defense gift-wraps for the other team.
One bad season is never the reason to trade the unquestioned leader and face of your franchise. The Yankees proved it this year with Jeter, and I hope the Devils prove it with Marty for years to come.