Former New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues goalie Martin Brodeur announced his retirement yesterday after 22 NHL seasons, ending his storied career at the age of 42. Brodeur’s 691 wins are the most of any goaltender in the history of the NHL.
Brodeur began his career with the New Jersey Devils at age 19. In his rookie season, he was voted to his first all-star game, placed seventh in Vezina Trophy voting (awarded to NHL’s best goaltender), and won the Calder Memorial Trophy, which essentially is the NHL’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ award.
From that point on, Brodeur led the league in wins nine times, games played six times, minutes played six times, and shutouts five times. His 113 postseason wins are second only to Patrick Roy’s 151. Brodeur was also the first goaltender to have three shutouts in two different playoff series (1995 vs. Boston in the Conference finals, and 2003 vs. Anaheim in the Stanley Cup finals).
Of the 691 wins Brodeur compiled, 688 of them came while in net for the New Jersey Devils; his last three wins were with the St. Louis Blues.
Although Brodeur is retiring from playing, the St. Louis Blues have accommodated him by giving him a job in their front office — Brodeur will serve as the assistant general manager for the Blues.
There could be multiple arguments for why Martin Brodeur is arguably the greatest goalie of all time. One of the biggest reasons is that he literally changed the game. Because Brodeur was so good at playing the puck behind his net, the NHL adopted a rule which limits where goalies could play the puck; it was known to many as “The Brodeur Rule.”
One other major argument for Brodeur’s case is his durability. Nowadays, it’s unheard of for goalies to play over 60 games in a season. Brodeur had 12 seasons where he played more than 70 games — an impressive feat that will probably never be reached by any goalie in the near or distant future.
As a whole, the first ballot Hall-of-Famer has compiled one of the most storied and impressive careers of any athlete in his generation.