After Martin Brodeur finished one of the greatest postseason runs of his legendary NHL career, it was back to business. The goalie is a unrestricted free agent this summer, having made $5.2 million against the cap for the last six seasons. He turned 40 in May; this contract could be his last in the NHL.
"I've said it all along. He'll make the decision whether he wants to come back," Devils President/GM/Ruler of All He Surveys Lou Lamoriello said after the season. "Marty will be a Devil as long as he wants to be. I don't think there's ever something he and I have trouble with. I don't want to see him put on any other uniform. I don't think he wants to."
That desire may be put to the test: As first reported by Darren Dreger of TSN, Brodeur has hired Pat Brisson (who just closed Sidney Crosby's mega-contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins) having "had limited contract discussions with Devils. Could still sign before Sunday, but leaning now toward open market."
Martin Brodeur, playing in the NHL, in a uniform other than that of the New Jersey Devils. Wow.
Things have been quiet as far as what's going on with goaltender Martin Brodeur, but Lamoriello said earlier this week that "there's always communication" with the future Hall of Famer. Barring something unexpected, it would seem to be just a matter of time before there is something announced with Brodeur. Brodeur represents himself (with assistance from an attorney) in contract negotiations with Lamoriello, so it's unlikely there will be any news leaking out there until there is a done deal or the unexpected happens and he announces his retirement.
Obviously, the Brisson news throws this for a loop. The troubling news for Devils fans, via Gulitti: "[Brodeur] hinted that he would hire an agent if he ended up in a situation where he had to negotiate with other teams."
Were the Devils unable to match the money or term that Brodeur was seeking? Does the team's ownership and debt mess play into this?
(UPDATE: Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger tweets: "Devils' financial situation has prevented GM Lou Lamoriello from committing to re-sign Martin Brodeur so he will test market as UFA.")
Looking around the League, the possibilities for Marty Brodeur: Future Hall of Fame And Current Goaltending Band-Aid are tantalizing. Back-stopping a possible contender like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks or San Jose Sharks? A short-termer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, helping along James Reimer?
Or is this leverage? Brisson's message to Pierre LeBrun: "He will be testing free agency if a deal is not in place by Sunday."
That sounds like an ultimatum, no?