The New Jersey Devils will hold a 1 p.m. press conference on Tuesday at Prudential Center, the team announced Monday. Of those expected to be in attendance include Martin Brodeur. It is believed the team will announce a date for retiring the jersey of the long-time Devil and winningest goaltender in NHL history.
Brodeur, 43, spent 22 years in the Devils’ organization, 20 of which were spent exclusively in New Jersey over a 21-year NHL career. Brodeur played seven games with the St. Louis Blues last season, announcing his retirement on Jan. 29. Following his retirement he accepted a front office position with the team for the remainder of the season before being named assistant general manager of the team at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.
The team has yet to confirm the reason for the press conference, but plans to retire No. 30 into the rafters has been well-documented since his retirement. Tom Gulitti of The Record reported that Tuesday, Feb. 9 versus Edmonton is the expected date of the retirement ceremony at Prudential Center.
Brodeur will join former teammates Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer in the rafters. The foursome played together for each of the Devils’ three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003). Devils’ development coach Sergie Brylin is the only other player to play on all three cup teams.
Brodeur’s ascension to the rafters won’t be the fastest for the Devils. Stevens, who became the first player to have his number retired by the organization, saw No. 4 in the rafters on Feb. 3, 2006–less than five months following his retirement prior to the 2005-06 season. That same season saw 20-year Devil Daneyko have his No. 3 into the rafters after retiring in 2003 following his third Stanley Cup. Niedermayer, who spent 13 years with the organization between 1991-2004 before signing with Anaheim as an unrestricted free agent, had his No. 27 retired on Dec. 16, 2011 after retiring following the 2009-10 season.
Brodeur’s 691 (688 with NJ) wins are the most of all-time by an NHL goaltender, a full 140 wins ahead of Patrick Roy, who he surpassed on March 17, 2009. His hardware collection includes a Calder Memorial Trophy, as the rookie of the year in 1993-94, where he helped lead the team to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals; four Vezina Trophy’s as the best goaltender, including winning the award back-to-back in 2007 and 2008; and five William Jennings Trophy’s, sharing the honor once–in 1997 with Mike Dunham.
The one award that alludes the surefire, first ballot Hall-of-Famer (eligible 2018) is a Conn Smythe as the most valuable player throughout the entire playoffs. Some thought he’d earn the award in 2003, after recording three shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals versus the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim en route to the organization’s third Stanley Cup. Instead it went to opposing goaltender, Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
In a career that includes over 1,200 games played and over 25 individual records, Brodeur is largely considered the best player to ever don the Devils uniform.
After trading the 11th overall pick at the 1990 draft to Calgary, so that the Flames could select highly-touted goaltender Trevor Kidd, the Devils used the 20th overall pick to select Brodeur. Kidd last played in the NHL in 2004 with Toronto.
The team may also honor longtime general manager Lou Lamoriello at some point this season. Lamoriello, who brought Brodeur to New Jersey, was the team’s general manager for 28 years beginning in 1987. Lamoriello named Ray Shero the team’s fourth general manager in the organization’s history, while he would remain with the team as president. On July 23, 2015 he resigned as president to sign a three-year contract as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lamoriello will turn 73 at the end of October.
Together Lamoriello and Brodeur made a largely corner-column of the back page-New Jersey franchise into an NHL powerhouse, missing the playoffs just four times in 21 seasons while beating out large market rivals from New York and Philadelphia for the division title nine times, reaching the Stanley Cup finals five times including 2012, where they beat out the Flyers and Rangers for a fifth trip to the finals, ultimately falling in six games to the Kings.
Brodeur’s career didn’t end the way Devils fans envisioned. A 2013 trade brought some much-needed youth to the crease in the form of Cory Schneider for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat) at the 2013 NHL Draft. Schneider started 46 games in 2013-14 while Brodeur started 39. In an effort to better acclimate Schneider into the starting role, the organization chose not to re-sign Brodeur. He waited it out as a free agent before signing a tryout and eventual contract with the Blues in 2014. Tomorrow’s announcement should offer some closure to fans with the expectation of jersey retirement symbolizing what he told Tom Gulitti following his retirement: “I’m retiring as a New Jersey Devil as a player in my mind.”
Neal McHale began contributing to The Hockey Writers in 2015, covering NHL hockey and the New Jersey Devils. He also writes for Inside Hockey. Previously, he’s served as a correspondent to the Big East Conference and a staff writer for The Setonian. He graduated from Seton Hall University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations.