New Jersey Devils fans will be spared from seeing Jerry Rice as a Seahawk, Joe Namath as a Ram or Patrick Ewing as a Sonic; a.k.a. goalie Martin Brodeur awkwardly wearing another NHL jersey in the waning years of his career.
Ren Lavoie of RDS reported early Monday morning that unrestricted free agent Brodeur was staying with the Devils for 2 years and $9 million, for a cap hit of $4.5 million. Broduer's six-year contract with an annual hit of $5.2 million ended after he led New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final.
Thus ends a few days of sphincter-clenching for the Devils and their fans.
On Friday it was revealed that Brodeur had retained the services of agent Pat Brisson — fresh off of his monster Sidney Crosby contract extension — with the intent of fielding offers from other NHL teams.
The Devils' contract offer wasn't satisfactory — reportedly 1-year deal. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks were among the teams that kicked the tires on Brodeur.
Late Sunday evening, TSN reported that the Devils offered Brodeur a second year on their contract offer. That appears to have been enough to convince a player who never wanted to leave that he should stay.
The Devils came up with a two-year offer late Sunday, Brodeur said. "It was great the Devils stepped up,'' Brodeur said. "You have to understand what's happening obviously with the ownership situation and with what's happening with Zach (Parise). I understood that. I'm just happy this got done.''
He has a 656-371-141 record with a 2.23 GAA and 119 shutouts. With two years before an expected retirement, can he reach 700 wins?
Does this mean prized free-agent forward Zach Parise will, or is, headed back to the Devils? The NHL was ready to find out on Monday. If nothing else, Brodeur's returns softens the blow and keeps the franchise from a calamitous, embarrassing week in which two of their most beloved players could have jumped ship. The whiff of Parise and Brodeur leaving already has the franchise doomsday vultures out.