New Jersey bid their farewells last April, but the rest of the NHL said goodbye to a future Hall of Famer on Thursday.
After 22 seasons as one of the NHL’s elite goaltenders, Martin Brodeur announced his retirement at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Miss.
Brodeur, who holds the NHL career wins record with 691, played seven games and went 3-3 with the St. Louis Blues this season after spending his first 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils. He won 688 games, recorded 124 shutouts–another NHL record–and won three Stanley Cups in New Jersey.
“I don’t understand what he is doing,” said Andre Vicari, 19. “He obviously thought he had more game in him and he did show it in his couple starts for the Blues. He had to have realized that he was not getting a steady job playing anywhere in the league this season.”
Brodeur won 113 playoff games with the Devils, the second most in NHL history behind only Patrick Roy (151).
This year with the Blues, Brodeur had a goals against average of 2.87 and a .899 save percentage. His numbers in 2014-2015 were poor compared to his career numbers, a 2.24 GAA and .914 save percentage. Brodeur increased his shutout record to 125 on Dec. 29 in a win with the Blues against the Colorado Avalanche.
Brodeur is widely known as one of, if not, the greatest goalies of all time, winning four Vezina Trophies as the league’s best goaltender and three Stanley Cups with the Devils. He also won two Olympic gold medals playing for Canada.
Brodeur decided to take a break several weeks ago, after he dropped to the third slot on the Blues’ depth chart, to think about his future. He will join the St. Louis Blues’ front office as an advisor to St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong.
Brodeur was a fixture and a role model not only to Devil fans, but to hockey fans everywhere over parts of the past three decades.
However, some Devil fans are upset that Brodeur did not finish his career in red, white and black.
JJ Halpin, 23, understood Brodeur’s decision, especially since Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello did not offer the goalie a job with the team.
“Winning three Stanley Cups for the organization… how could one feel betrayed? If he wanted to continue and play and Lou wasn’t going to sign him then you know what, I would have done the same thing,” said Halpin.
Saying goodbye to Brodeur was not easy, especially for Halpin, who was in the stands at the Prudential Center during what would be Brodeur’s last game in a Devils uniform.
“He has been an idol of mine since I was a kid. I’ll never forget chanting ‘Marty, Marty, Marty,’ as he took a lap around the rink. Watching him on the ice for the last time in a Devils jersey was really something special to me,” said Halpin.
Vicari said he had a feeling Brodeur was leaving since he was “splitting time with Cory [Schneider] all year,” but that did not make it any easier.
“Saying goodbye to a guy that is a future Hall of Famer and basically the best goalie ever that carried us to three Cups is really tough,” said Vicari.
Despite disagreeing with his decision to join the Blues’ front office, Vicari said he wants Brodeur to stay within the NHL as a general manager or a coach. “He definitely is a guy that should be helping future NHL stars.”
Halpin added that Lamoriello made “the move of the decade” trading for Schneider, and that he will still support the newly acquired goalie.
“I think Cory is the future of our team,” said Halpin, “but Marty cannot and will not ever be replaced.”