Going into the 2011-12 NHL season, many hockey fans and pundits alike felt that it might be the last season for New Jersey Devils' goaltender Martin Brodeur.
The reasons for this were quite simple. He was getting old (hockey-player wise), looked like he did not have the same skills that made him successful in the first place, was coming off a year in which he and his team missed the postseason for the first time since the 1995-96 season and lastly, people felt that may be it was time to move on and start thinking about the future.
As it turns out, these same people were dead wrong. Brodeur surprised everyone last season by not only having a pretty solid regular season, but an incredible run in the postseason in which the Devils came within two games of winning the Cup.
For starters, Brodeur did not seem to show his age last season. Brodeur started 59 games and went 31-21-4 with a 2.41 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and 3 shutouts.
While those numbers are probably considered mediore for a Brodeur regular season, Marty did happen to save his best for the postseason. Brodeur won 14 games, posted a terrfic 2.12 goals against average, had a save percentage of .917 and managed to post 1 shutout.
When it looked like there was a chance that Brodeur would test the free agent market on July 1, Devils' general manager Lou Lamoriello made sure to sign the future Hall of Fame netminder to a 2-year deal worth $9 million. There is no doubting that Brodeur's time is almost up but had he gone to play somewhere else to close out his career, it definitely would have seemed wrong to many fans and even media.
With Zach Parise no longer a Devil and high expectations heading into the upcoming season (whenever that is), Brodeur is going to have to be at his very best if the Devils want to get back into the postseason and show that last year was no fluke.
Luckily for the Devils, Brodeur always loves a challenge, which is why he is not close to being done.