Martin Brodeur. A legendary goaltender, arguably the greatest goalie to ever lace up a pair of skates.
691 career wins and 125 career shutouts, the most all-time in both categories. Four-time winner of the Vezina trophy. Three-time Stanley Cup champion. Five-time Stanley Cup finalist. Two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team Canada. Ten all-star game appearances. 1994 Calder trophy winner. Eight 40 win seasons. 12 straight 30 win seasons from 1995 to 2008. Five-time Jennings trophy winner. The second most playoff wins. The most playoff shutouts.
It’s hard to find a thing an NHL goaltender can do at the pro level that he hasn’t accomplished or a goaltending record that he doesn’t own or share. The man is one of the all-time greats and is a shoo-in for the hall of fame.
But…and he’s one of quite a few Hall -of Famers with a but… would he have accomplished what he did without the famous New Jersey Devils defence protecting him night in and night out? Or an even better question…is Brodeur truly the greatest of all time? Or is he as overrated as people claim he is?
It’s a debate that more than likely will never end but I’m going to try to analyze it for you.
Is Martin Brodeur Overrated?
Most of the people that say he isn’t overrated (aside from fans of the Devils) point to his absolute mind blowing resume and the fact that he was so good at one aspect of goaltending. Puck handling — which was rare by the time he came into the league in the mid-90s that the NHL changed its rules to stop him from creating so many offensive opportunities. His accomplishments speak for themselves so I’m not going to point them out again.
He was also the face of the Devils for 21 years. Surviving arena changes, ownership and roster changes, even salary cap implementation and rule changes. He was the constant in New Jersey. He was the prototype of what you wanted a goalie to be, tall, agile, puck movement, and lightning quick reflexes.
Roy carried two Canadiens teams to the finals, won three Conn Smythe awards and four cups overall. The other two cups, he would win in his storied career coming with the Avalanche after one of the most disastrous trades in hockey.
Roy’s case can be countered by pointing out how shaky he got during his last years in the league. His argument can also be countered by the fact that while he did retire as the all time wins leader, Roy’s records would be broken by the man this article is centered on. Also, do I need to bring up the statue of liberty goal? Getting blown out in game 7 against the Red Wings in 2002? Losing to the Wild in 2003 after being up 3-1?
Hasek dragged – and I mean dragged – the Sabres on several deep playoff runs and a trip to the finals in 1999. They wouldn’t have sniffed the postseason without him in net. But you can counter Hasek’s case by pointing out that he won the fewest cups of the big-three goalies (yes I know a Cup is a team achievement but it isn’t possible without solid goaltending) and was on a 2002 red wings team that had nine future Hall-of-Famers on it. Ten when Pavel Datsyuk is eligible. You could have put a sack of potatoes in net behind that team and they still would have won the cup that year. In fact, that team is a very good reason why there’s a salary cap in the NHL now.
He was also pulled from the net on the 08 Red Wings and relegated to backup after losing it against Nashville in the first round. So while hasek was one of the best goalies in the world in his heyday, his case can be countered by those points.
After analyzing all of these facts my opinion on the man nicknamed Satan’s Wallpaper (that’s one obscure nickname by the way) is that yeah he may be overrated, but not as overrated as fans of Hasek and Roy says he is.
The other question is, would he have accomplished all that he did without the famous devils defense in front of him? Probably not. He might not have gotten the shutout record or won the Jennings Trophy as many times, but what-ifs are still ifs. You don’t win 691 regular season games overall without stealing quite a few games along the way, and he made his team confident — one thing all teams need in their goalie.
Think i’m wrong?
Feel free to tweet me @nero_alucard or @LWOsports about me.
This has been Brandon, I hope you enjoyed this and feel free to come back for more.
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