Can't wait to see these two back in net! - Bruce Bennett
With a 48 game season looking like a reality, what can we expect from the aging goaltending duo of Marty and Moose?
The New Jersey Devil's goaltending situation can be summed up in two words, Old and Great. The two goaltenders the Devils will utilize this season will have a combined age of almost 80 at the start of the season. One goaltender holds almost every goalie record that is tracked while the other is arguably the most dependable backup in the league. Obviously, I'm talking about the same goaltending duo as last season, Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg. It's been awhile since they've played, given the offseason and the lockout, so I'll recap what Marty did in the playoffs and then go into what we saw last season from this goaltending pair as well as what we can expect in a shortened 2013 season.
Brodeur in the Playoffs
Martin Brodeur played his last five games against the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, allowing 13 goals. While playing in the finals, the Kings lit up Brodeur for four goals in game three and five goals in game six to clinch the cup...sigh.
Otherwise, Brodeur was spectacular in the playoffs. Brodeur had a GAA of 2.12 and a SV% of .917 through 24 games. Looking back at Brodeur in the 2012 playoffs, he looked calm, collected, and all around spectacular. If you don't have the greatest memory, here is probably the best save of the postseason in 2012.
For those worried about Brodeur getting old... It's only been about 230 days since Brodeur pulled off that save.
Last Seasons Stats
In the 2011-12 season, Brodeur had his 14th 30-win season. Another milestone tacked onto an illustrious career. It wasn't all great for Brodeur, he was decent in goals against average and save percentage throughout the season. He had a SV% of .908 and a GAA of 2.41. Brodeur's career GAA is 2.23 while his career SV% is .913. Could Brodeur be slipping from his prime? I'll talk more about that later. If you really want an in-depth look at Brodeur's performance last season, take a look through John's Review of Goals Allowed by Brodeur. Below is Brodeur stats from the 2011-12 season and the playoffs.
If there is any worry about Brodeur slipping, having Johan Hedberg as a backup is some of the best insurance in the NHL. Moose played the best hockey of his NHL career last season. Hedberg played in 27 games, winning 17 of those games. He put up career bests in SV%, .918 and GAA, 2.23. He also posted four shutouts in the 2011-12 campaign. I fully expect that Hedberg will continue his great play as a Devils goaltender through a shortened season. Below are Hedberg's 2011-12 stats.
Shortened Season - Good or Bad?
There is some concern with an overall aging roster, two aging goaltenders, and a compact 48 game schedule. The concern here is that the older the player, the more prone to injury and fatigue, even more so in a short season. However, if you look at Brodeur's games played over the last couple of years, you'll see that it has sharply declined.
06-07: 78 GP
07-08: 77 GP
08-09: 31 GP (Injury)
09-10: 77 GP
10-11: 56 GP
11-12: 59 GP
Other than the 08-09 season, Brodeur was expected to play 70 plus games and be the starter almost every night. Over the last two seasons, the Devils have lightened his load to fewer than 60 games. I wouldn't be surprised if Brodeur only played 25-30 games out of the 48 games this season. This would allow Brodeur to be prepared for every game as well as let Hedberg continue to be a strong part of the Devils team. I believe DeBoer is smart enough to realize that the Devils will benefit from a well-rested Brodeur. As a comparison, Brodeur played 40 games in the lockout-shortened 94-95 season. Then again, he was in his mid-twenties.
Stats from 1994-95 shortened season
How did young Marty perform during the lockout-shortened season? Below is a chart of the goalies that played the most games in that season. Brodeur took on 40 games and didn't do so well. Brodeur won 19 games and managed to pick up 3 shutouts during the season. His GAA was 11th in the league and his SV% was 24th.
Other Goaltending Notes
Brodeur is sitting at 656 all time wins. He won't get to 700 this season, but I bet he stays with the Devils after this season and tries to reach the 700 wins mark. Lou Lamoriello signed Brodeur to a two year contract worth $9 million. I would be willing to bet Brodeur will play the whole contract. Given the name of this website, I think Lou knows best what Brodeur has left in the tank.
The biggest question facing the Devils goaltending is whether or not Brodeur will fall from his legendary play. I believe he will play down a notch, but not as badly as some people say he will given his age. However, Brodeur has played through everything, so expect Brodeur to shine in spurts throughout the season. Another question facing the Devils goaltending is how DeBoer will split the ice time between the goaltending duo. I hope DeBoer utilizes Hedberg so Brodeur can stay flexible and healthy. We could even see an equal share in ice time between the two. However, as Devils fans, we can expect the goaltending situation to be solid, at least for one more season!