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Martin Brodeur Continues Historic Career in St. Louis

by Photo of Andrew Wallach

Martin Brodeur is playing for only the second franchise in his storied career.

Martin Brodeur Continues Historic Career in St. Louis

On June 16, 1990, the New Jersey Devils used the 20th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft to select a young goalie by the name of Martin Brodeur. Brodeur would remain mostly with the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate until he was handed the keys at the beginning of the '93-'94 season. He made an immediate impact, winning the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year.

The wins would pile up and the list of accomplishments and awards would grow over the next 20 years, culminating in the most prolific statistical career of any goalie in NHL history. He would set all-time records with 688 wins, 124 shutouts, and won three Stanley Cup Championships to go along with four Vezina Trophies awarded to the league's top goaltender. But almost as impressive as those stats is the fact that he accomplished all of this with one franchise. At the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, Brodeur held the NHL record for most games played by a goalie for one franchise with 1,259 games.  

When the league year ended following the Cup Finals, there was much speculation as to his future. Would he retire? Would the Devils bring him back in a limited role? Would he really play for another franchise? We had to wait past free agency and even through the beginning of the season to get our answer. Brodeur waited and waited for injury or other fortune to give a team reason to call him in search of goalie help.

Enter the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have been searching for a savior in net to complement a roster that has all the makings of a championship-caliber team. With Brian Elliott often injured and not proven, and youngster Jake Allen not quite ready yet, the Blues took a gamble on the 42-year old Brodeur and signed him to a one-year deal on December 2nd. He made is return to NHL game action two nights later in a loss against the Nashville Predators, and has compiled a 2-1 record with a .904 save percentage and a GAA of 2.64 for St. Louis in two starts and three appearances overall.

There is only one reason why a team makes a move like this. St. Louis is in win-now mode. Currently sitting at second place in the Central Division, the Blues seem poised for another run to the playoffs. But the Western Conference is very competitive, and they may need more than just an aging goalie in order to overcome some of the more experienced teams in the conference. They will have a chance to win the division and most likely a first round playoff series, but I don't see the addition of Brodeur propelling them much further.

The reasons why Martin Brodeur decided to join the St. Louis Blues can be debated. Some say he came back to chase a ring, others argue that he came back to play for the money. But he has three rings, and just signed for a fraction of his previous salaries. So maybe the best, albeit least talked about motivation for an athlete to keep playing is his passion for the game. Maybe the goalie with the best statistical resume in the history of the sport just loves to play hockey and compete at its highest level. 

Whatever is driving Brodeur to continue playing, Blues fans should be excited about their team's newest addition. Only time will tell if he is the missing piece to bring the franchise their first ever Stanley Cup Championship. Either way, fans have to be lining up to get their St. Louis Blues tickets and see one of the all-time greats in action.

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