NEWARK, N.J. – Martin Brodeur never had to make a decision on whether to waive his no-trade clause with the New Jersey Devils.
The NHL’s winningest goaltender returned to practice on Thursday after two weeks of speculation about a trade of the face of the Devils’ franchise ended with on Wednesday.
The 41-year-old Brodeur said he didn’t give Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello a list of teams for whom he would play, but rather situations where he’d be able to play more.
Brodeur felt that it was unlikely that he would be traded by Wednesday’s deadline. A telephone call from Lamoriello on Wednesday afternoon confirmed that.
“It was weird,” said Brodeur, who has spent his entire 20-year career with the Devils, helping them to three Stanley Cups and five Cup finals. “There was (a little uncertainty) not knowing what would happen. I was pretty particular about what I asked, so I knew the chances were that I wasn’t going to go anywhere.”
This year has been an adjustment for Brodeur. The Devils acquired Cory Schneider from Vancouver on draft day in June and he’s gotten the majority to playing time in recent weeks, starting 8 of 10 games.
Brodeur, who used to play 70-plus games a season, has been a little unhappy. He’s started 30 of New Jersey’s 64 games, four less than Schneider.
“I am here to do my best and play as many games as possible and get into the playoffs,” said Brodeur, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. “I don’t have many years left and I want to get into the playoffs and get another run. We’re in a position on the outside looking in and I want to be part of the solution on getting into the playoffs, and hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do it.”
The four-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie said the last 19 games of the regular season will tell him what he wants to do next year.
Devils coach Pete DeBoer was happy that a move was not made.
“We have a great luxury of two starting goaltenders,” DeBoer said. “For selfish reasons, individually at least, they both would like to play more and we understand that.”
Schneider will start for the Devils on Friday night in Detroit against the Red Wings. Brodeur is scheduled to start here on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Schneider said Brodeur was himself on Thursday. He was in a good mood and he worked hard.
“I don’t know how close it got, we just treated it as if he was still going to be here and he is,” Schneider said. “It’s a good thing for our team.”
The only addition that Devils made Wednesday was the acquisition of left wing Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina for centre Andrei Loktionov.
Ruutu, who played well for Finland in earning a bronze medal in the Olympics, skated on a line with Dainius Zubrus at centre and Michael Ryder on right wing.
DeBoer isn’t sure whether that line will stay together. Ruutu had to waive his no-trade to come to New Jersey.
“It’s always nice when someone is interested in you,” Ruutu said. “I’m really happy to come here and help the team in my own way.”
DeBeor described Ruutu as a player who competes with an edge.
“Every team can use more of that, especially down the stretch and in the playoffs,” DeBoer said. “Those are the guys as the later the season gets, the more valuable those type of guys get.”