This was supposed to be Martin Brodeur’s season.
After a long career, Brodeur was supposed to pass Patrick Roy for most wins in a career and Terry Sawchuk for most shutouts in a career.
Instead, he got injured in a game back on Nov. 1 and is out for three to four months. There was much debate about how much the New Jersey Devils were going to suffer without him. There was talk of trades to bring in a new number one goalie, of trying to cling to a playoff spot for when Brodeur came back in February or March.
Instead, the back-up goalie, Scott Clemenson, has stolen the spotlight. The same Clemenson who had started 28 career games at this point. The same Clemenson who’s best season since the lockout was in 2006-2007, when he had a 3.14 GAA and a .889 save percentage.
Now, Clemenson has started just as many games this season as Brodeur, and their numbers show something surprising:
Brodeur: 10 games started, six wins, two losses, 2.16 GAA, .916 save percentage.
Clemenson: 10 games started, six wins, three losses, 2.32 GAA, .922 save percentage.
Their numbers are almost identical. If look at most other past years, you will see the backup goalies with almost identical records as Brodeur, no matter who the backup is.
Brodeur seems to always be mentioned in the same breath as other great goalies in history, but it’s not warranted. He’s a product of the team’s success. For years, the Devils played a dull neutral zone trap game. Brodeur happened to be the goalie back there.
There were many games where the opposition took less than 20 shots, and half of those would be dump-ins from centre ice.
How can Brodeur compare to guys like Patrick Roy, Ken Dryden, Terry Sawchuk and others when most of his wins weren’t that difficult?