Although not entirely shocking, Martin Brodeur has signed with the St. Louis Blues. The all-time leader in wins and shutouts is donning a different sweater other than the Devils for the first time in 21 years. In fact, it’s the first time he’s worn any other colors besides red and black, spanning his career in Utica, New Jersey and stints with Team Canada. Supportive New Jersey fans — many of whom are so because of Brodeur — give him berth as a gesture of respect for everything he’s done over two decades.
Move is not unprecedented
Although forever enshrined in Blues lore, many forget that like Brodeur, goalies Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante were also considered over the hill and done when they arrived in St. Louis. All they did was share Vezinas and lead the franchise to three Finals appearances in the first years of the team’s existence. Although the expectations surrounding Brodeur are equal parts excitement and trepidation, few goalies in the NHL regardless of age carry as much potential for success. Losing in the Cup Finals on a far weaker Devils team than the current Blues squad in 2012, Brodeur nonetheless proved he had the potential to lead a team to glory, despite falling a couple wins short. Perhaps on a Western power team like the Blues, he can help the franchise close the deal for the first time ever.
Irony is a funny thing
Fans in St. Louis and New Jersey all remember the Scott Stevens debacle, where an arbitrator’s ruling in the Shanahan signing led to the departure of Stevens and gutting of top draft choices for St. Louis. Without question, the multiple Cups the Devils earned might have belonged to the Blues, had those picks still belonged to them. Perhaps fate will pay the Blues back in spades by allowing Brodeur, a lifelong Devil, to finish his career with a Cup win on the team that quite possibly had a few taken from them by his old organization. Although that may be wishful thinking, the sheer intimidation factor Brodeur provides might be enough to counter whatever microseconds have been shaved in reaction time by advancing years. That formidable presence in net is something that the Blues haven’t had arguably since the Grant Fuhr days, with hopefully a better outcome this time around.
Brodeur’s contract is a perfect value for the Blues
Given his pedigree and abilities, Brodeur could have certainly signed a more lucrative contract. However, Doug Armstrong is a value-focused GM that makes players earn their dough. Brodeur’s deal is one year at $700,000, with an additional $10,000 in bonus money for each standings point earned. That is decent money for a guy that’s already quite wealthy and has a chip on his shoulder with something to prove. Even if the gamble doesn’t work out at the end of the day, the money is a nearly invisible cap hit and the team can deal Brodeur or simply walk away at the end of the year. Regardless of the outcome, Blues fans should at the very least embrace the fact that a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer is wearing the Note, in the long tradition of excellent stoppers that have graced the organization in years’ past.
Freelance writer and public relations practitioner. 20+ years in goal and long-time Blues fan.