With Martin Brodeur re-signing with the New Jersey Devils in July for another two years, most of his NHL records will continue to grow to untouchable, unthinkable and unfathomable numbers. Perhaps the most daunting record of Brodeur’s for an NHL goalie to break will be his shutout record, which currently stands at 119.
The next closest active player is Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo with 60, meaning if Brodeur never recorded another shutout, the 33-year-old Luongo would need to double his career total to edge out Brodeur by one.
We won’t even begin to start the playoff-shutout record conversation, another Brodeur crazy record; that’s an article for another summer.
In total Brodeur owns 23 NHL records. You can see the full list here on his website.
Brodeur only had three blankings this past season, his lowest total in any season since the lockout-shortened campaign of 1994-95. It’s hard to believe that Luongo will be able to catch Brodeur for one reason: he needs 59 more just to match the record and it’s highly unlikely that Luongo will play into his 40s like Brodeur has.
Okay, so let’s move down the active leader board and find another candidate. Third is Evgeni Nabokov of the New York Islanders with 52 and fourth is Tomas Vokoun (now a backup in Pittsburgh) with 48.
Both ‘tenders would have to average about 15 donuts a season to make a run. Not happening.
Fifth is Nikolai Khabibulin in Edmonton with 45 and sixth is Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff with 44. Both are legitimate goalies, but neither have any chance as they are also both past their primes like Luongo.
Rangers goalie and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist has 43 and is only 30-years-old, but he would have to go on a remarkable run to crack 100 shutouts. Even with the great team defense and shot blockers that New York currently has, it seems highly unlikely he would crack 90.
The next noteworthy puck-stopper on the shutout list is Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, who ranks tied for 14th with 28 blankings. Miller is 32 already and probably should have more shutouts than he does with all of the stellar work he does in Buffalo.
The next two best puck-stoppers are not even 30-years-old and would be my choice if I had to pick, but each would have to steer clear of major injuries and play on successful teams over the next 12 seasons. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury is 27, but only has 22 shutouts (his career high in a season is five). Carolina’s Cam Ward is 28 and has 21 shutouts; his season-high is six, but he also had a season with zero.
After what we witnessed last season, I’m sure someone out there is saying, “what about Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne?” Excellent point. Let’s review shall we?
Quick had ten donuts last season and dominated in the post-season, and his career total is 24 at the age of 26. His style of play is violent, though, with all of the side-to-side, crouched over movement, and is screaming back injury in the near future.
Rinne is 29, has 25 career shutouts and he plays on a team that resembles Brodeur’s early defensive Devils teams, but he has about ten years to record 100 shutouts. Good luck boys!
It’s hard, nay impossible, to go into an NHL game and expect to get a shutout that night. There are too many talented scorers on every team and there are so many variables that go into the mixture of a shutout.
“It doesn’t matter how you feel,” Brodeur said the night in 2009 when he became number one all-time on the shutout list. “The bounces around you, they’re everywhere and you’re vulnerable to referee calls and non-calls.
You have to play the game the way it is played and I think you stay focused and good things will happen. It’s all about winning. If you have it in your mind that you want to win this game and you’re doing everything to win, the next thing you know you’ll have a shutout opportunity.”
Terry Sawchuk held the record before Brodeur with 103 and for three decades people said it wouldn’t be broken. Maybe it will be broken one day, but chances are it won’t be by a player that is in the league today.
There’s an old saying that “records are made to be broken,” but in this case it’s hard to fathom that any of today’s current NHLers will be able to even get within striking distance of the mark considering that Brodeur will still be active for at least two more seasons
Dan Rice can be reached via Twitter: @DRdiablo321 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org