On July 1st of this year, 42-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur became an unrestricted free agent and was not offered a contract by the only team he’d ever played for, the New Jersey Devils (or any other team, for that matter).
Brodeur’s made it very clear that he wants to keep playing, but only if he can play a significant number of games for a Stanley Cup contender. However, most of the teams he’d be okay playing for didn’t have a spot on their roster for him. He’s also said he prefers not to play for a Metropolitan Division team, that he’d rather not face the Devils several times a year.
The chances of Brodeur playing again looked slim coming into the season. Now, just a week and some change into the year, there’s an opening in Colorado after the Avalanche placed starter Semyon Varlamov on injured reserve Thursday.
Avs’ backup goalie Reto Berra started for Colorado against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, but he left in the first period with an injury after John Mitchell and Kyle Turris got tied up and slid into Berra, sending him into the back of the net. Calvin Pickard, a call-up from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, was dressed as an NHL backup for the first time tonight. He came in and made his NHL debut just 2:46 into the first period. In the remainder of the game, Pickard allowed four goals on 27 shots as the Avalanche would lose, 5-3.
Varlamov is out for Colorado with a groin injury, and depending on the severity of Berra’s injury, the reigning Central Division winners will need to add another goaltender to their roster to stabilize the team early in the season.
Their best options of who to sign come down to Brodeur and 40-year-old Tim Thomas, each unrestricted free agents with plenty of NHL experience.
This could be the chance Brodeur has been looking for. Although Colorado was knocked out of the first round of the 2014 playoffs by the Minnesota Wild, they still made it there, unlike the Devils.
Colorado is still a good team, complete with the 2013-14 Calder Trophy winner Nathan Mackinnon and young captain Gabriel Landeskog. They also added the seasoned Jarome Iginla, and they’re poised to be a contender once again.
In addition, the Avalanche will only face the Devils twice this season. The first meeting isn’t until November 15th, so there’s a chance Brodeur may not even be with Colorado at that point if Varlamov gets healthy quickly.
This isn’t an idea Devils fans have wanted to ponder, but the three-time Stanley Cup champion has held off on retirement and made it crystal clear that he wants to keep playing. Now, with a mini-crisis between the pipes out in Colorado, Brodeur in an Avalanche jersey could be a very real possibility.