Those of you who are still hanging around during the offseason will be happy to know that Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur has won his third Vezina Trophy, an award given to the league’s most outstanding goaltender.
As exciting as it is to see our own win an award for his record-breaking 48 win season, Devils fans have mixed emotions.
It’s an understandable feeling. Brodeur played an outrageous 78 games this season, and many believe that this workload taxed the goaltender to the point of exhaustion by the time the post-season rolled around.
It’s no secret that Marty has most of the control in deciding whether or not he’ll play. His dream of breaking Bernie Parent’s record of 47 wins in a single season may have clouded his judgment of the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup. The mid-thirties Brodeur cannot weather the position as well as he once did earlier in his career.
Don’t forget that in the new era of the NHL that we are in, the workload for a goaltender is exponentially higher. No more do you have defense hooking, holding, grabbing, and twisting players off the puck. Teams find crashing the net very successful in winning games. This puts so much more strain on the goaltender then ever before. In fact, it was assumed that the “new” NHL would require two number-one goaltenders – something most teams haven-t really done yet, including the New Jersey Devils.
Our bottom line: you cannot put the blame of the Devils mediocre playoff run on Marty. The failure to execute was a team-wide collapse and not just the end result of a fatigued netminder. His 48 wins and league-leading 12 shutouts is rewarded in the form of yet another Vezina victory for the 2006-07 season.