I recently sat down one morning to eat my bowl of cereal for breakfast and picked up the sports section of the Star Ledger and right there, front and center was an article about a Devils goalie prospect. I actually wondered why so much was being made, and has been made about what will happen with this team once Marty decides to hang them up. Brodeur is 39 and entering the final year in his contract. Of course there are many questions that need to be answered but I ask you, why do the Devils have to replace Marty with a guy that has been brought up through the Devils organization? Why can’t we just find a guy on the UFA market to fill our goaltending needs? Wasn’t Hedberg hands down the best thing that happened to us last summer?
Of the teams still playing in the NHL Playoffs, only 2 of those teams are using goalies that have been groomed by the organization. You could even argue that Tim Thomas isn’t really a guy that has been groomed by the Bruins organization as he was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, and spent a lot time playing in Europe before making his NHL debut with the Bruins during the 2002–03 season. Dwayne Roloson has spent time with A LOT of clubs over his long NHL Career. Antti Niemi made his rise in the NHL as the goalie that deliverd for the city of Chicago last season but during the offseason, Chicago had to walk away from Niemi because of salary cap restraints. Truthfully, Niemi really got his start in the SM-liiga as he spent 3 years there before signing with Chicago. Jimmy Howard has been the exception of the bunch, having been drafted by the Wings in 2003 and getting the occasional call up to the NHL starting in the 2005–06 season. During the 2010-11 season, Howard signed a 2-year contract extension with the Red Wings worth $2.25 million per season, so it would appear he is going to stay in Detroit for a while.
So Where am I going with this? Why does it appear that the Devils are so worried about finding a goalie that can be groomed from within the organization to take the place of Marty Brodeur once he’s ready to leave the ice? Jeff Frazee has been in Albany for what seems like years now and appears that he won’t ever be ready for the NHL. McKenna has been called up a few times but I’m not sure he’s the right guy either. Looking at the year Marty becomes a UFA, goalies like Rinne, Mason, and Huet will also be joining him (although it is unlikely Nashville would let Rinne ever get away.)
Maybe the Devils organization should get away from the thinking that they need a guy who has paid his dues to the organization as a replacement for Marty. Look at the Sharks, for years they relied on their guy, Evgeni Nabokov but cut him loose last summer to go get Niemi and the Sharks are putting together a decent run, all be it they’ve allowed Detroit to climb out of a 3-0 hole.
I understand that NJ has to start thinking about life without #30 between the pipes, I just want them to realize that there are good stop gap goalies out there until the next franchise goalie comes along. And hey, you never know, one of those stop gap goalies could end up being the next franchise goalie.
So what are your thoughts? Should we be worried about replacing with Broduer from within or should we not worry to much about it because there is bound to be someone out there that can do what we need a goalie to do?