Retired Brodeur says it’s ‘not the plan’ ever to come back as a player
ST. LOUIS — Two months ago, the idea of Martin Brodeur retiring in St. Louis would have been unfathomable.
It still felt a little weird when the longtime New Jersey goaltender stepped up to the stage at the Scottrade Center on Thursday morning to announce his retirement, which was initially reported Tuesday. Despite some rumors to the contrary, Brodeur insisted he remains on good terms with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and intends to return to New Jersey in the future, but a job wasn’t currently available.
As a result, he elected to stay in St. Louis for Thursday’s press conference, since he’ll be taking a job in the Blues’ front office as a senior adviser to general manager Doug Armstrong. Brodeur will start right away and travel with the team to games at Carolina and Washington this weekend.
"This is going to be as close as a hockey player," Brodeur says. "I’ll be able to be involved with the hockey operation and being close with the guys and the coaches and the managers."
Brodeur won three Stanley Cup trophies and four Vezina Trophies as the league’s top goaltender in 21 seasons with New Jersey. The Devils finally let him go after he posted a 19-14-6 record with a 2.51 goals-against average and .901 save percentage last season.
After getting a few phone calls from teams over the summer, Brodeur says he was about a month away from retirement when he heard from Armstrong following an injury to Brian Elliott. Seven games in St. Louis, including three wins, gave the NHL’s all-time leader in wins and shutouts the opportunity he wanted to end a career on a more positive note.
But Brodeur says he often just felt in the way and struggled as a competitor when Elliott returned and Allen reclaimed his spot as the primary backup, leading to a leave of absence in early January. Brodeur’s lengthy discussions with his family convinced him retirement was the right option, although many wondered what would happen if the Blues lost a goaltender again.
"I’m retired now," Brodeur says. "It’s complicated for me to come back and that’s not the plan. I don’t feel like it. Come back for one game? Nah."
If something strange were to change his mind, though, the Blues probably wouldn’t say no.