NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur will give a firm answer about his future to Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello by July 1, the date that the free-agent market opens for business.
"Regardless of what is going to happen, whether it's me being here, or me not playing, or me doing anything else, July 1 is the date because that's when people start shopping," said Brodeur, 40, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Brodeur, though, can think of only three things that can keep him from returning to the Devils next season.
"If I play like three rounds (of golf) at 72, I might not come back," he joked Wednesday during Devils' breakup day at Prudential Center. "Don't worry about that."
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OK, so maybe the decision won't come down to his golf game. It will come down to confidence in his ability and the knowledge that he can still compete and play at a high level.
Brodeur, who holds numerous NHL records, including most wins (656) and shutouts (119), proved all of that to be true during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so he's fairly certain he will be back to take another crack at winning his fourth championship.
He said as much minutes after losing Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, and he reiterated that Wednesday.
"You know what, the decision will be pretty easy for me to make, I just want to take my time doing it," Brodeur said. "There's a really good chance that I'll be back, but I want to make sure I spend time with my kids, my family, my wife, my dad, and answer all the questions I need to because it's a big decision to be made."
Brodeur doesn't plan on making it to the free-agent market, but odds are teams wouldn't mind shopping for him considering his performance in the playoffs.
Brodeur turned back the clock and had his most successful playoff run since 2003, when he won the Stanley Cup for the third time in his career. He went 14-9 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and one shutout.
"It shouldn't be surprising," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "You know, unfortunately the bar is so high with him and the expectations are so high that if he's merely mortal he's not getting the job done. But it shouldn't come as a surprise knowing this guy's pedigree, what he's done and how he's going to go down in history."
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