ILWT Audition 2014: This Season and the Next for Martin Brodeur

Writer G tries to figure out what's next for Martin Brodeur after a poor 2013-14. - Bruce Bennett

The ILWT Audition process continues with a submission from Writer G kristjan.fridbjorn. The subject is New Jersey Devils legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur, who had a not-at-all legendary 2013-14, and figuring out what's next for him.

At the end of April, I put out another call looking for new writers for In Lou We Trust to write about the New Jersey Devils. I've opened up the audition to the community at large in order to get some new perspectives and additional voices on the front page with regularity. Since then, I've received eighteen entries that met the submission criteria. Regardless of how they're received, I thank the writers of each and every one of them - you know who you are - for stepping up and submitting an entry.  (One more instruction for those who made submissions and received letters, by the way.  Please do not comment on your submission or any of the other audition posts.  This will help allow others to freely judge the work and show that you can handle online reactions.  No drama is the best drama.)

Throughout the this week, I will post each one under an anonymous name so you can discuss and critique the post without regard to who actually wrote it. I can ensure you that I did not change any of the content outside of formatting it in to the SBN platform.  To that end, please note that I don't necessarily agree with what the posts actually say. I'm just letting them stand on their own. Please be constructive in any criticism and do offer your thoughts about whether you liked (or disliked) the post in addition to discussing it's content. Don't be mean, but be fair.

Now, I assigned a letter to each writer based on when I received it.  However, I decided to mix up the letters in terms of order of posting.  So this process continues with the submission of Writer G kristjan.fridbjorn, who tries to figure out what's next for Martin Brodeur.  (P.S. English isn't the first language of Writer G kristjan.fridbjorn, so be a bit kind about that.)

***

When this is being written, we have unconfirmed news that the Devils have extended the legendary Jaromír Jágr. Meanwhile another UFA legend ponders his future, Martin Brodeur, and you wonder what the future holds for him. Will he re-sign with the Devils? Will he sign with another team? Will he retire?

Option A), re-signing with the Devils, seems unlikely, after what has gone on this season. In what shouldn‘t really have surprised him, being 41 years old at the time, the Devils traded for a future goalie. It was inevitable that it would happen at some point, but it seems like the trade made Marty finally actually realize that perhaps his time would be up relatively soon. For Marty it may have been an injection of an unfortunate reality, but for the Devils it was a smart move. At some point you know either Marty retires, or is no longer fit to be the number one goalie. The latter came to be this season, but there‘s no shame in that. I don‘t know many athletes that command positions like starting goaltender at the age of 42, but since this is hockey and the career longevity is quite often much more than that of other pro sports, maybe his grief about it is a bit more understandable than otherwise.

Still though, we clearly saw this season that the Schneider trade was a good move, and for two reasons. 1) The Devils needed a trade for a goalie like that, since that goalie was not to be found in their system, and the Devils needed to have that goalie in the organization before Marty retired or otherwise left the team. If you follow soccer, you may remember the case of Peter Schmeichel leaving the starting goalie position at Manchester United, and all the havoc that followed, because United didn‘t have a clear cut #1 goalie successor groomed at the time. The Devils needed to avoid that kind of situation. The 2) reason is that as we‘ve seen by the stats this year, Cory is clearly a better goaltender at this time of his and Marty‘s careers.

Now, the sudden realization that he was no longer, after all those years, a clear cut #1 goalie for the Devils, didn‘t sit well with Marty. He wasn‘t afraid to admit it, but only sub rosa. He never came out and publicly demanded a trade, worried about his legacy with the franchise and the fans, but he clearly wanted one. And complain about not being starting goalie he did. Even now, after the season, he blamed the Devils using a goalie tandem for their lack of postseason berth. Perhaps he‘s right, but he won‘t like the reason why I agree with that, and the solution I‘d propose: Cory‘s clearly a better goalie now, and he should have the crease. It‘s understandable that Marty would not be happy with finally not being the #1, but he shouldn‘t be surprised that father time has caught up with him, and at some point the whining about it becomes a distraction.

He can‘t also have that many complaints. Lou has done all the right things. He drafted Marty‘s son, and let Marty announce the pick. They had Marty start the Stadium Series game because of course you do that. Then at the trade deadline, Marty went nowhere because Lou, smartly for his own legacy, did not want to be the guy to trade Marty. It would‘ve been weird, but I would‘ve been okay with Marty being traded.

And it doesn‘t matter if he evenutally does B), sign with another team, because he‘ll still always be a Devils legend. All the major success in the franchise‘s history has been with Marty in net, heck, even if they hadn‘t been as successful as they were, he‘s still the hall of fame goalie that was 20 years in net for the team. Just as Niedermayer is a Devils legend, and his cups with the team will never be taken away from him, so is Marty.

If Marty does sign with another team, I‘m not really sure what that team will be. I think only one team in the East is an option, and that‘s Montréal. Of course you really don‘t want to see Marty on another Eastern Conference team, but it‘s safe to say we‘d forgive him for joining his home town team, the team that his father worked for. If it‘s in the West, you really wonder what the demand is. Marty‘s looking to be a starter, and if we look at the Pacific for example, he‘s not going to be a starter for Phoenix, Anaheim, LA, San José or Edmonton. Calgary doesn‘t have great goaltending but they seemed happy with Karri Rämö. Then, for obvious reasons, I‘m pretty sure he‘s not going to Vancouver. It would just be too weird. In the Central, there were some murmurs about him going to either Chicago or Minnesota, and certainly in the latter case he could have some decent ice time. Marty‘s however not going to Colorado, Dallas or Nashville to be a starter, but there‘s something to be said for St. Louis, who look like they might get rid of both Miller and Elliott right now, and Winnipeg, where surely Marty would be an upgrade from poor Ondrej Pavelec.

The question remains though whether these teams would seek him. Overall I‘m not convinced Marty‘s a hot commodity. The free agent market for goalies is quite good this year compared to some other ones, and guys like Ryan Miller, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott, and Jonas Hiller are all available. And then there are other guys available like Ray Emery, Jonas Gustavsson, Ilya Bryzgalov, Justin Peters, Thomas Greiss, Al Montoya and Chad Johnson, who all had a better SV% than Marty this season.

Perhaps Marty will fall victim to the good UFA goalie market and take door C) and hang up his skates this summer. In either case, I‘m pretty sure we‘ve seen Marty play his final game as a Devil.

***

Now that you read Writer G kristjan.fridbjorn's post, I want to know what you think about it.  What do you think of the subject matter? What did you think about how Writer G kristjan.fridbjorn wrote this post? Based on how it was written and what was it about, is this the kind of post you would want to see regularly at In Lou We Trust? Please leave your answers and other comments about this post in the comments. Thanks go to Writer G kristjan.fridbjorn for the submission and thank you for reading.

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