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Martin Brodeur is still waiting. It’s July 17 and the 42-year old future Hall of Fame goaltender remains a free agent after cutting ties with the New Jersey Devils, the only NHL organization he’s ever known. As he waits, he’s spending the week in Lake Tahoe, participating in the American Century Championship golf tournament for the fourth straight year.
Almost 2,800 miles away, Brodeur’s three sons, Anthony, Jeremy and William are participating in development camp with the Devils. Anthony was drafted by the Devils last June in the moment of the 2013 draft when his dad announced the pick. Now entering their draft years, Jeremy will play for Oshawa of the OHL, while William heads to famed prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
As Brodeur’s three boys begin their hockey careers, his remains at a standstill. After moving on from the Devils, he and his agent, Pat Brisson, held talks with several teams after July 1, but nothing materialized.
Looking at depth charts, the options are limited at the moment for Brodeur, which is why Brisson told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record last weekend that his client would be willing to wait until the fall to catch on with a team. Should that not happen, the goaltender sounds ready to hang up his skates for good.
“I’m still looking for the right fit and the right fit might not come this summer, it might come later on in the fall,” Brodeur said Wednesday night from Lake Tahoe. “I’m pretty open-minded. Regardless of what happens, if I play or don’t play, I’m ready for anything. I’m looking forward to a new challenge, regardless if it’s outside of hockey or still in hockey with a different organization.”
After 20-plus years, four Vezina Trophies and three Stanley Cups with the Devils, seeing Brodeur in another jersey would be odd. It’d be Brett Hull as a Phoenix Coyote. Bobby Orr as a Blackhawk. Mike Modano as a Red Wing. But he’s still searching for that right fit.
“If I’m going to not play with a contender, then definitely I’d like to play a lot,” he said. “I’m really open-minded about the situation I’m looking for, but it’s pretty specific, and me and my agent are kind of looking at different options.”
Brodeur has slowly watched his numbers fall over the past four seasons and when general manager Lou Lamoriello made the stunning trade for Cory Schneider during the 2013 Draft, the writing was on the wall. The Devils cemented their future in goal last week by signing Schneider to a six-year, $42 million extension.
So if Brodeur’s search takes him into the fall and 29 other teams don’t have interest or the room, could a reunion with the Devils be in the cards?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I had a lot of really good conversations and I think the main goal in New Jersey was to get Cory signed for a long-term and the organization was able to do that last week. I was really happy about that. My heart is always going to be in New Jersey and I hope when I’m done playing the game I’ll be part of the organization; so this is a great step by the organization to have a quality goaltender locked up for so many years.”
Whenever Brodeur does retire, he envisions himself as more of a suit than spending his time coaching goalies.
“It’s more in the office kind of job,” said Brodeur. “I’ve been doing this, the day-to-day operation as far as playing the game, for a long time, and I don’t know if I want to get back in coaching. Everybody knows that coaching is probably harder than player [since it’s] time-consuming.
“It will be something a little different than coaching; but again, I don’t close any doors on anything that Lou would approach me [with] in the future.”
The 2014 American Century Championship golf tournament airs Friday from 4-7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and 3-6 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday on NBC