(HockeySTL) -- With Brian Elliott healthy and seemingly ready to return to his role as the Blues’ No. 1 goaltender, many situations have been pondered regarding Martin Brodeur.
The 42-year-old, future Hall of Fame goaltender has been with the Blues for over a month, has started in seven games and has a split 3-3 record. Brodeur’s performance with the team has been serviceable, but it hasn’t been enough to push out rookie Jake Allen and Elliott has returned to the role he had before his injury. However, the Blues aren’t in a hurry to cut ties with Brodeur.
“It doesn’t bother me, but I’m not the guy waiting for the third net,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said. “As long as the starter gets their work, focus, I don’t think it’s troublesome.
“Our focus right now is on Elliott and keeping him up and running. The other two guys are going to have to wait their turn.”
When he was signed by the Blues on Dec. 2, the idea was that Brodeur would provide support for Allen as Elliott battled back from a knee injury. Elliott’s injury was lengthy and forced him out for more than a month. The belief was that once Elliott was healthy, the Blues would be reluctant to move forward with three goalies on their roster. But general manager Doug Armstrong indicated that there could be circumstances in which the club keeps Brodeur around.
“We are taking it day by day,” Armstrong said when he announced the signing. “Hopefully when Brian returns, we have a hard decision to make. Our goaltenders are Brian and Jake. We are looking for someone to give us the support needed. Marty understands that these two are our goaltenders.”
That situation appears to be the same. The club still sees Elliott and Allen as their two goaltenders, but there aren’t currently any issues with the roster size and the added experience of Brodeur and his 691 career wins has been viewed as extremely helpful inside the locker room.
“There is a lot that Marty brings to this team,” said Hitchcock. “There’s a lot. It’s a really revealing situation when you bring in players with winning pedigrees and the way they look at the competition, the way they look at the game, the way they look at improvement, on adjustments. It’s really refreshing to bring in people with that kind of pedigree.”
Brodeur is enjoying the experience, too. After spending the summer wondering if his 21 years in New Jersey would be the entirety of his career, he is liking the new environment.
“I’m enjoying every moment of it,” Brodeur said. “Whenever a decision is made, hopefully I will be the first to know and I’ll be happy or disappointed or whatever. But it’s been a great ride.”
The Blues haven’t promised Brodeur any more starts. His last one came six days ago against Anaheim. Prior to that, Brodeur registered shutout No. 125 against the Colorado Avalanche. He was asked if he thought that would be his last game.
“I don’t feel like it’s going to be,” Brodeur said. “I’m happy and I feel like they are pretty happy to have me around, too.”
On a one-year $700,000 deal, the Blues don’t currently see an issue with keeping Brodeur around. It’s possible he has played his last game, but that theory has been proven wrong before. As it stands, Brodeur is the Blues’ third priority. Allen is expected to earn a start in one of the next few games and Elliott’s play has been solid.
For now, though, it looks like Brodeur’s historic career will continue as long as the Blues can stay under the 23-man limit. Once that becomes an issue, it could spell an end to Brodeur’s time with the team.
“For us, if it doesn’t bother the goalies, it shouldn’t bother us. You don’t need two extra forwards or two extra defensemen; you need one extra at each position. It doesn’t bother us as long as it doesn’t bother the goalies.”