Goaltenders are typically a hot commodity in the NHL but as we move past the mid-point of the offseason, there’s a pair of veteran netminders still looking for work. Both Martin Brodeur and Tim Thomas have backstopped teams to Stanley Cups before but neither are signed as of right now. Is it time for them to retire?
Time For Thomas To Pack It In
Thomas is the younger of the two goaltenders at 40 years of age but he’s facing some challenges of his own doing. For starters, Thomas decided to abruptly take a year off after the 2011-12 season, which changed the trajectory of his career. At that time, he was a member of the Boston Bruins and had he played his role, he could still be a backup with them. Instead, he left the team, took a year off and when he came back, found life quite difficult. He played 40 games with the Florida Panthers last season before being traded to the Dallas Stars where he played eight more. Overall, he finished with a save percentage barely above .900 and a GAA just under 3.00. While that’s not bad for a backup, the issue is street free agents are likely to be both younger, cheaper and likely more effective.
One More Year For Brodeur?
As for Brodeur, his conundrum is a bit different. The 42-year-old is a living legend who is one of the best goaltenders of all time. He’s coming off a season where he posted respectable numbers (2.50 GAA) for a New Jersey Devils team that was not very good.
He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place: he wants to play one more year and join a team that’s making a run for a Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, almost all of those teams are stocked with starters and Brodeur would have to accept a backup role. It would be pretty odd to see Brodeur serve as a backup to, say, Semyon Varlamov, Corey Crawford or Brian Elliott, but that’s the position he’s in right now.
How To Bet The News
In short, Thomas won’t affect the NHL odds any which way. If he does sign with a team, that oddsmakers aren’t going to blink and the Stanley Cup futures are not going to change. His days of being an effective goaltender appear to be finished.
As for Brodeur’s situation, that’s more intriguing. If he wants to be somebody’s No. 1 goalie, he’s not going to be playing for a contender. Teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets need help but does Brodeur want to join someone’s rebuilding project? Likely not. Most of the contenders, like the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are all set with their top spots. The Pittsburgh Penguins could have been an option had they not signed Thomas Greiss.
The one team that seems to make plenty of sense for Brodeur is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have Jonathan Bernier as their No. 1 and general manager Dave Nonis has said he’s open to trading backup James Reimer. The Leafs were in first place at the end of October last year and in a weak Eastern Conference could probably compete for a playoff spot.
If that happens, expect an uptick in the Maple Leafs 40/1 Stanley Cup futures. Also, Bovada has a prop up on whether the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs (with -110 both ways) but with Brodeur, their chances improve.
Another team that might be a good fit would be the Dallas Stars. This is a team on the upswing and No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen hasn’t cut the mustard. If that continues, Brodeur could earn more playing time. They are at 20/1 on the Stanley Cup futures.
Those teams would be the best fits for Brodeur. Other than that, he might want to wait for a midseason injury or call it career.