Friday, October 14, 2005

This Should Be An Interesting Year For Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur is a very good goaltender. He is the defending Vezina trophy winner and well into a Hall of Fame career. However, he has always had critics who point out that he has always played behind a very good defence. Although he has always been a league leader in wins, goals against average and shutouts, but rarely is his saves percentage among the league leaders. This has caused some pundits to wonder just how good Brodeur is. How much of Martin Brodeur's success can be attributed to playing behind one of the best defences in the NHL?

This year, we may get a hint at the answer to this question. Scott Stevens has retired. Scott Niedermayer left New Jersey to sign as a free agent in Anaheim. This will be a significant hit to New Jersey's defence. New Jersey will still have a solid defence with Brian Rafalski, Paul Martin, Vladimir Malakhov, Richard Matvichuk, Dan McGillis and Colin White. They also have some very good defensive forwards led by John Madden and play a very good defensive system. There are several new faces on their defence and people filling new roles, so it will likely take a while for everything to start clicking in mid-season form. Prior to Friday night's games, New Jersey stands 7th in the most shots allowed per game. I imagine that this standing will get better as the season progresses. Probably New Jersey will be somewhere around or slightly above the middle of the pack in shots allowed. This is a step down from previous New Jersey defences. We will get to see how Martin Brodeur performs with a closer to average defence in front of him.

Martin Brodeur has not been the most impressive goalie in the NHL yet this year. He has only played four games so far, but his numbers are somewhat average. He has a 2.98 GAA and a .906 saves percentage. These numbers are hardly league leading. Of course, Brodeur is 33 years old and coming off a year off. It is quite reasonable to expect a slow start. It is also reasonable to expect that maybe his best seasons of his career may have passed in his late twenties or so.

Brodeur certainly hasn't been as good a goalie as Roberto Luongo this season. Luongo looks to have replaced him as the best goalie in the NHL. When one considers that Luongo is seven years younger than Brodeur, it is quite reasonable to expect he would overtake him as the best goalie in hockey.

Roberto Luongo was better than Martin Brodeur during the last NHL season, but Brodeur won because he has the 'pretty' stats.

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