The New Jersey Devils finally ended the Martin Brodeur Era after over 20 years and have since handed the crease over to former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider. After outplaying Brodeur last season, former goaltender and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes believes Schneider is ready for the rigors of a starting goalie job in the NHL.
The Devils placed support firmly behind Schneider when they signed him to a seven-year deal worth $42 million, making him one of the highest paid goaltenders in the league. Weekes felt it was the right move in a phone conversation with ESPN.com.
“He was ready to take that mantle,” Weekes said. “I like that the franchise was able to put that to bed and start that transition.” He later added, “It’s a unique situation because he’s Marty Brodeur, he’s earned the right to his influence and impact. Sometimes, the problem with that is it’s not always what’s best for the Devils’ personnel.”
The Devils undoubtedly made a hard decision giving up on Brodeur, but only for sentimental reasons. Brodeur posted a .901 save percentage in 39 starts last season, as opposed to the .921 posted by Schneider in 45 games. The two were hardly close enough to make this a real controversy.
Martin Brodeur is a first ballot Hall of Famer and an all-time great (arguably the all-time great) in New Jersey, but constructing a hockey team is a business first and the Devils made the best business decision they could in parting ways with Brodeur to make room for Schneider, who should see a full starter’s workload this season. Given his new contract, it’s fair to say that Cory Schneider will be earning his money this year.