On Thursday, it was widely reported that native Montrealer and future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur would consider ceding a starting job to become Carey Price’s backup.
“If the Canadiens made me an offer, it goes without saying that I would listen to what they have to offer me,” Brodeur said, as reported by NHL.com. “This is Carey Price’s team. I would definitely still want to be the No. 1 goalie, but it wouldn’t bother me to play in only 20 to 25 games during the season if I know I’ll have fun playing within a winning team.”
Unfortunately for Brodeur, his pleasantries toward the Canadiens and Price is lost on fans who recognize that the net minder is running out of options with training camp just days away and no offers on the table. In June, Brodeur expressed no interest in playing for the Canadiens, let alone in a secondary position.
— Don Brennan (@SunDoniB) September 5, 2014
Reporters like Don Brennan might believe that Habs fans are chomping at the bit for Brodeur because he is a native son and a future Hall of Fame goaltender, but according to a fan poll issued by Hockeyinsideout.com, 67% of fans voted against signing Brodeur.
It’s not just that at 42 years, Brodeur’s numbers have decreased significantly over the last two seasons; it’s also that Habs fans, and the team itself, are looking forward and are comfortable with a lineup that took them to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
There’s no better guy in the room than Peter Budaj, Price’s official back up who is signed through the season. Behind him is the young Dustin Tokarski who lit the flame of hope when he replaced an injured Price during the playoffs.
With a full hand of competent and exciting goaltenders in the mix, the Habs don’t actually need Brodeur. And in a cap system fans become increasingly concerned about price and costs, because money spent on an aging goaltender could mean missing out on a more useful player at a later date.
Still, The Fourth Period reported on Monday that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has reached out to Brodeur’s agent to see if they can come to an agreement. Of course, if Brodeur does squeeze his way onto the Habs roster, it would likely mean that Budaj would be traded to another team. Should this happen, would the outcry be justified? I’m not sure. Budaj is well respected and had an excellent season in Price’s shadow but Brodeur is the winningest goaltender in NHL history. That has to count for something.
It would be disappointing, to say the least, if Brodeur was forced out of the game (though he has only himself to blame). He has earned a Selanne-sque season-long send off. But the time when Habs fans coveted their native son has long passed. The Habs as a team have come far enough that fans believe the Habs can take invaluable playoff and championship experience for granted.
We can only hope that Crosby doesn’t look for a last skate with the Habs when he is on the verge of retirement and be similarly rejected by a fan base that used to crowd the stands to pay tribute.
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