After goaltender Martin Brodeur registered his 125th shutout, there was thought it may be the last of his career. With the return of Brian Elliott to the Blues lineup and the play of Jake Allen, there seemed there was no more room for him in St. Louis.
It still seems that way, really, but with an injury to Jimmy Howard and the current state of the goaltending for the Minnesota Wild, are there still options for the 42-year-old in the NHL?
While the most obvious answer would seem to be that, of course, there are still teams that could use some veteran experience in goal, but Brodeur’s numbers tells the story of a goaltender that is far past his prime and has looked like more of a liability than he has the steady hand a team like Minnesota would need to right the ship.
In both 2012-13 and 2013-14, Brodeur posted seasons with goals against averages above 2.20. And in seven games with the Blues this season, Brodeur has posted a 3-3 record with 17 goals against, a .899 save percentage, and 2.87 GAA. Those are the numbers deserving of a demotion to third string, exactly what Brodeur has earned himself. While St. Louis may be holding on to the Hall of Fame worthy goaltender simply as insurance, one has to wonder whether or not Brodeur will push for a trade.
When it comes to the possibility of Minnesota making a move for Brodeur, it just doesn’t seem likely. Already with an aging backup in Niklas Backstrom and a young goaltender who looks like he needs to get his confidence back in Darcy Kuemper, Brodeur simply doesn’t seem like the right fit. He’s unlikely to provide an actual boost to the play between the pipes, and there are better, cheaper, more promising options throughout the league.
With an injury to Jimmy Howard, however, speculation has arisen of the possibility of the Wings going out and getting the aging netminder. With steady play from Petr Mrazek, the call-up of Tom McCollum from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, and Jonas Gustavsson nearly back from an early season injury, it seems incredibly unlikely that Detroit GM Ken Holland would add yet another goaltender to an already crowded crease.
Adding to that, Mrazek has been stellar for the Red Wings this season. In nine games, he’s got a 5-3-1 record, .916 SP, and 2.29 GAA. In 20 career NHL games, his 8-8-1 record, .921 SP, and 2.03 GAA with two shutouts isn’t a mark that should make Holland and Co. worry about handing the wheel to the 22-year-old puck stopper.
Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers left Saturday’s game, and will be evaluated further on Sunday. If he’s out any length of time, a move to the Flyers may make the most sense for Brodeur, but in a season that’s already almost too far gone to make a serious push for the playoffs, one has to wonder if it’s worth it for the Flyers to get tied up in a bonus-laden contract.
Looking across the rest of the league, there aren’t any other fits that stand out. That said, you can’t know when an injury will strike and a team will look for help in goal. For fans that grew up watching Brodeur, it’s hard to imagine his career has come to the point that he may end up simply watching from the sideline as teams pass on him. But with numbers not indicative of what has been a Hall of Fame career, Brodeur may just be out of options.