Martin Brodeur has seen it all during his illustrious NHL career. From Stanley Cup victories and Vezina winning seasons, to crushing defeats. There's no doubt that this offseason was a trying one for the Devils, but Brodeur is ready to forge ahead.
"i think its a great challenge, i know I'm excited to come back and see the little puzzle that Lou put together this summer, how it's going to pan out," the 41-year-old netminder said. "We got bigger and we got some good experienced players coming in, it'll be interesting."
Number 30 is certainly used to player turnover, as he's seen hundreds of players come and go during his time with the Devils. With the departure of Ilya Kovalchuk, coupled by the signing of some key free agents, this team will be drastically different than last year's club. A lot has changed during the summer months, and Brodeur spoke about what he believes acquisitions such as future hall-of-famer Jaromir Jagr will do for the team.
"It'll be nice, he's a quality hockey player still, at his age and I think he's going to help a lot of our young guys how to prepare, he's not just a superstar, he's one of the best players to play the game," Brodeur said of Jagr, who were both drafted in the 1990 NHL entry draft. "For some of the kids, or even the guys in the middle of their careers, they have a chance to play with a guy like that, it's like bringing in Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux to the team."
There's no doubt that Jagr will instill his wisdom on the team, but for Brodeur, 2013-2014 will be a chance for him to do some teaching as well, with new goaltender Cory Schneider.
"I'm definitely excited for the challenge to play with him, he's going to keep me accountable," he said. "He's a guy who's going to take what I did for so many years and move with it, he's going to be the top goalie in new jersey within the next few years, there's no doubt about that. For me its a fun opportunity to really help him out and it'll help me out at the same time."
Though the three-time Stanley Cup winning goalie will certainly be a source of knowledge for Schneider, there will be a competition between the two as well. Brodeur looks to be the starter coming in, but the 27-year-old former Canuck will no doubt push him for playing time. It is a win-win for the Devils, who sport what may be the best goalie tandem in the league. Considering that they play the most sets of back-to-back games in the entire NHL, having two starting-caliber goalies is a huge plus.
The speculation surrounding the four-time Vezina winner is that he might hang up the skates after this season. Brodeur would give no such inclination as to that notion when he spoke with the media earlier this week.
"I'm just going to play this year, I'm not going to comment on yes I will, or no i won't, you won't hear it from me. I'm not going to tell anyone if i'm going to retire or not until I make a decision about coming back or not."
He's certainly leaving the door open for a possible return. With the amount of games sure to be less than he's used to in his career, there's always the chance that Brodeur will have enough left in the tank to return for yet another season.
There's no telling what number 30 may decide in the coming months. For now, the focus is on this season and helping the Devils return to the playoffs after failing to qualify last season.
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