Why Martin Brodeur Is Not Like the Modern-Day Athlete

Nothing that Martin Brodeur does on the ice is similar to another goalie in the National Hockey League today. The future Hall of Famer will be the last goalie to play a style other than the butterfly, his demeanor is much more relaxed than anybody else at his position, and so far, there aren’t too many goalies (past or present) that have accomplished what Brodeur has over the last eighteen seasons.

However, the differences between Brodeur and other goalies on the ice pales in comparison to the differences between the Devils’ goalie and most modern-day athletes. Despite playing in New Jersey for his entire career, Brodeur experienced being a free agent this off-season for the first time in his career. In the days leading up to free agency, Brodeur hired Pat Brisson as his agent, and created speculation that he was seriously considering leaving the Devils. However, Brodeur did return to New Jersey, as he signed a two-year deal worth $9 million.

Martin Brodeur thought about signing elsewhere, but in the end he re-signed with the New Jersey Devils. (Flickr/LindseyAAkiyama)

In the world of professional sports today, Brodeur’s decision to remain with the Devils is a rarity. The first reason is because of the present financial state of the Devils. The Devils are in danger of having commissioner Gary Bettman take control of the team for the foreseeable future. The financial problems have also created uncertainty about the direction of the organization going forward, especially whether they could afford to re-sign Brodeur and team captain Zach Parise. In most circumstances, a player of Brodeur’s stature would jump ship. The Hall of Famer has done everything that a hockey player could hope to accomplish in a career, and the only thing left would be to win another Stanley Cup. Despite the uncertainty, Brodeur not only chose to remain a Devil, but he took a pay cut to do so.

Brodeur’s new deal will pay him $4.5 million a year for the next two years. While that contract might be at his market value at age 40, it certainly wasn’t the highest offer available to him. Also, Brodeur’s contracts with the Devils have been below market value for the majority of his career. The last contract the Hall of Famer had, which started in 2006-07, paid him $5.2 million annually over six years. At the same time, the New York RangersHenrik Lundqvist makes $6.5 million annually, and Carey Price signed a six-year, $39 million contract as well.

Martin Brodeur (Andy Martin Jr)

So why did Brodeur, a player who has been good to the Devils organization in terms of dollars and performance, agree to a new contract with New Jersey when the organization couldn’t return the favor? One reason is that Brodeur has continuously put the success of the team over how big his bank account is. In his autobiography, Brodeur: Beyond the Crease, the Devils’ goalie talked about the thought process that went behind his last contract. Brodeur said, “Locking the Devils into a contract that paid me a large salary would hinder the club, and I knew I would rather make less money and play on a good team than make more and risk playing on a weaker team. I valued the luxury of winning more than money.”

While it is refreshing to hear a player caring more about the team than he does himself, it is even more refreshing to see a player value that concept throughout their entire career. In the world of free agency, it is a rarity now to see players spend their entire career with one team. With Brodeur’s newest contract, it appears as if that will be the case for the NHL’s all-time wins leader. In his autobiography, Brodeur said, “In the end, I guess I didn’t want to know anything else. This is what I believe in. Being a Devil.”

And it will remain that way.

Michael Rappaport

Michael Rappaport

Michael Rappaport is a junior at New York University majoring in Sports Management. He is one of the Featured Writers for the New York Rangers for The Hockey Writers, and joined THW in January of 2012. In addition to his work for THW, Michael has been featured in numerous publications such as New York Hockey Journal, Yahoo's Puck Daddy Blog, The Huffington Post, Spector's Hockey, and Kukla's Korner to name a few. You can talk hockey with Michael by sending an e-mail to michael.rappaport@nyu.edu, or if you want to shoot a quick message, following @Mike_Rappaport on twitter.

11 Comments

  1. This Rangers fan agrees completely – Brodeur is a classy professional in all ways; and he remains my favorite opposition player.

  2. I admire his dedication to the Devils – he’s the best goalie to ever play the game. With that said, it’s not like the money makes a difference if you’re raking in millions regardless of what team you sign with.

  3. Still overpaid

  4. Thats true teamplay and true face of hockey ! go Marty go

  5. Down Goes Avery says:

    Brodeur and Elias are both of a rare breed. They’re dedicated to the NJ Devils organization. I hope both get at least one more crack at a Cup before they retire. They’ve been so good to the Devils.

  6. Brodeur DID NOT test the waters you idiots. He knew he wasnt going anywhere, it was whether or not he was going to return at all. That was the only question…not WHERE he would be. He will retire a NJ Devil, so all you haters that secretly want him as your goalie…put your big girl panties on and get over it, hes N-J-ALL-DAY.

    Testing the waters of Free Agency…where the hell do you get this garbage? You make that up all by yourself and print this rubbish as LEGIT NEWS?! Might as well call yourselves THE ONION cuz your a joke.

    #MB30
    #GoalieGod

    And Seth, he has already stated numerous times in various interviews that he wants to be Devils GM after Lou.

    • He became an unrestricted free agent, then received offers from other teams. Whatever his intentions toward returning to the devils were, when you do those two things, that is called testing the waters.

  7. jerseydevil43 says:

    #bestgoalieever

  8. First off I don’t know where you get your facts from but in no way shape or form is the NHL even coming close to taking the Devils over.

  9. This is a great article. Mad respect for Brodeur.

  10. This is a great article. Mad respect for Brodeur.

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