Marty Brodeur is 41 years old, playing behind a better goalie (at this stage of their careers) and has experienced a series of “gold watch” moments for an NHL player, from drafting his son last summer in New Jersey to playing in Yankee Stadium last weekend.
Does he have another run in him? Hell, I thought he was cooked back in 2012 and all Marty did was come within two wins of the Conn Smythe and a fourth Stanley Cup. But the numbers don’t lie, the images don’t lie and the record doesn’t lie: Brodeur has ceded the crease to Cory Schneider. And he might not get it back, despite the fact that Cory Schneider has held onto starting jobs like he’s Mark Sanchez and they’re covered in bacon grease.
Brodeur hates being a backup goalie, partially because he has no idea how to prepare himself to be one but also because ego is a thing champions undoubtedly have. So on Tuesday, Marty Brodeur admitted that he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if presented with a deal by the New Jersey Devils, in an inspiring attempt to build a trade market around a player no one is trading for, i.e. himself.
“It’s within the team’s rights to try and make themselves better. The fact is, I have the luxury to decide what I want to do. I hope if he (Lamoriello) is able to help the team, he’ll ask, regardless of what it is. It’s definitely something that is possible.”
“I don’t know how I’d feel. I don’t know where I’m at with that,” Brodeur said with honesty. “I don’t know what I’d think if it were to happen. I definitely would like to play more, so if there is a chance somewhere…
“But I’m not looking for that. I want to make sure this team gets on a playoff run. We’ll see what happens, but stranger things have happened.”
This isn't he first we've heard from Marty on the trade front, going all the way back to Nov. 2013 and his admission that he'd consider waiving his NTC. This was probably before his save percentage dropped below .900.
Schneider, for his part, understands the crazy notion that the Devils may keep both players around:
“If you’re serious about getting into the playoffs and making a deep run, sometimes you need both guys in case something happens to one or the other,” Schneider said. “I saw it in Vancouver. They were real reluctant to deal either one of us (Schneider or Roberto Luongo), especially when you want to try and make a deep run in the playoffs. Injuries happen and a bad stretch here or there can happen. It’s always nice to be able to turn to another guy who can get the job done.”
Schneider’s absolutely right, of course, which means the Devils are 10 times more likely to keep Brodeur on their bench than trade him. Even if he's unhappy there.
(Sidebar: Where, exactly, would Brodeur go to get his reps in? Is there a team that would trade for him at 41 and not put him in a tandem, at a minimum?)
But the real baffler here is this: In what alternate universe is Lou Lamoriello, and not Martin Brodeur, the catalyst for a trade?
There’s no way Lou is trading Brodeur without Brodeur saying he wanted out. None. There’s no way Lou can turn to the fan base and explain how the most storied player in franchise history could only fetch a third round pick, and that it was all his idea to trade him. None. There’s no way Lou is going to be the one that ends Brodeur’s tenure with the Devils. The only guy that can do that is Martin Brodeur or the Injury Ninja.
These are two prideful men who built one of the most successful runs of any franchise over the last 20 years, and neither one wants to be the one to force the end of that partnership.
So, instead, Brodeur will just become the Milton from “Office Space” of the franchise: They trade for his replacement, they reduce his games, and then reduce them more, and then more, and soon Marty is wearing a toque and a smile somewhere in the storage room while Cory eats the company birthday cake.