How would G Marty Brodeur look in a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform?
So, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has hired agent Pat Brisson to handle his contract negotiations. That set off a flurry of speculation the future Hall of Famer is serious about testing free agency, and even some speculation the Tampa Bay Lightning would be a place Brodeur might land.
It seems a a stretch. The Lightning made a splash earlier in the month by getting Anders Lindback from the Predators, and everything that has come out of the team indicates it hopes Lindback is the long-term solution for Tampa Bay's ongoing issues in net. Tampa Bay also has Mathieu Garon, and general manager Steve Yzerman declared "that's it" when asked after acquiring Lindback if his goalie search was completed.
"I'd be shocked if (Brodeur) was in another uniform," said former NHLer Nick Kypreos, an analyst with Sportsnet in Canada. "I don't buy it just yet. I think it's a long-shot at best."
But former Flames GM Craig Button, an analyst for NHL Network, said the idea of Brodeur going to the Lightning is a "plausible discussion."
Before that discussion can take place, Brodeur and the Devils have to fail to reach an agreement on a new contract, and Brisson texted ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that if an agreement is not reached by the time free agency begins at noon Sunday, Brodeur will be available.
For the sake or argument, let's say Brodeur decides to test free agency. Would the Lightning be a good fit for a 40-year-old goalie who played some pretty good hockey last season?
First, Brodeur, who was 31-21-4 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage, would not come cheap, especially after New Jersey's run to the Stanley Cup final during which Brodeur upped his game with a 2.12 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Tampa Bay, though, is about $19 million under the new $70.2 million salary cap, so the money could be managed.
Button also believes Brodeur would welcome the chance to nurture Lindback.
"One of the interesting things for me is that Marty Brodeur has talked about having a young goalie to mentor," Button said. "He specifically talked about that during the playoffs. So, No. 1, you have a goalie who's desirous of doing that and you have a team who has that goalie."
And what about Garon, who last season as Dwayne Roloson's backup was pushing Tampa Bay toward the playoffs until he sustained a torn groin?
"Hey, listen," Button said, "you have a choice between Marty Brodeur and Mathieu Garon, it's a no-brainer."