As I sat back anticipating last night's lineup of hockey games, I began to consider the inevitable end of one Hall of Fame goaltender's career.
Canadian netminder Martin Brodeur boasts one of hockey's greatest resumes and isn't quite yet finished stamping his legacy. At 40-years-old, Brodeur still is playing phenomenal hockey, currently holding a .911 save percentage (SV%), a 2.29 goals against average (GAA) and a 6-2-1 record on the season.
|Photo by: Getty Images|
Brodeur's incredible feats make it easy to argue that he may, in fact, be the best to ever play. I won't even try to compare him to the great goaltenders of hockey lore. Instead, I will let the numbers speak for themselves. It is virtually impossible to compare players of two different generations as the game changes and evolves over time.
He has won 3 Stanley Cups, having been to the Cup Finals on 5 separate occasions. The latest of which came just last season. In his 21 NHL seasons, his New Jersey Devils have been to the playoffs 19 times.
Brodeur has also won 2 Olympic Gold Medals and 1 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal to go along with many other feats at the international level of competition.
He has won 4 Vezina Trophies as the best goaltender in the NHL and 5 William M. Jennings Trophies for finishing the year with the best GAA in the league. Brodeur has also been invited to the All-Star game 10 times in his incredible career.
Since being selected 20th overall in the 1990 draft, Brodeur has been nothing short of amazing. His long list of records and accolades is as impressive a resume as any in the history of the sport. Notably, he holds the records for most regular season wins (662), most regular season shutouts (120), most postseason shutouts (24), most single season wins (48), most overtime wins (52), best postseason GAA (1.96) and most shootout victories (26), just to name a few.
Brodeur even contributes offensively when called upon, being one of only two goaltenders to score in both a regular season and postseason game. He is the only NHL goaltender to ever score a game-winning goal.
Brodeur is also one of the most durable, seemingly ageless goaltenders of all-time. He is the all-time leader in minutes played (67,386) and in games played by a goaltender (1200). He amassed 12-consecutive 30-win seasons and 3-consecutive 40-win seasons. Not surprisingly, both of these streaks are NHL records.
In a time when goaltending has been dominant in the National Hockey League, Brodeur has been the staple of what good netminding should consist of. Whether he can hoist Lord Stanley's Cup one last time or not, his legacy will never die.
It's hard to picture who will be the historically great goalies of this new generation, but one thing is clear; Brodeur will always be one of the best to have played the game. Generations from now hockey fans will be delighted to regale their children and grandchildren of the great "Marty" Brodeur. It will truly be a sad day for hockey fans on that fateful day that he decides to hang up his skates.