Martin Brodeur had to go onto the free agent market to convince the New Jersey Devils to give him a two-year contract. It worked.
Brodeur, 40, re-signed with the New Jersey Devils on Monday, as did his backup, Johan Hedberg, 39.
"We did entertain some offers, but at the end the Devils were able to come through with the extra year and that for me was the most important thing in the deal," said Brodeur, who added most of the teams he talked to Sunday were willing to give him the second year. "The Devils weren't ready for a little while to do that and when they were able to get it done that was a pretty easy decision to be made."
After spending two weeks in Florida with his family, Brodeur came to the conclusion that he had to hire an agent in order to give him advice on the off chance that he was to enter free agency. He hired Pat Brisson -- the agent for star players such as Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane -- and when the Devils still wouldn't come through with a two-year deal prior to the market opening at noon ET Sunday, Brodeur started to field offers.
While Brodeur didn't reveal the teams involved that approached him Sunday, Chicago and Toronto reportedly were on the list. Once Brisson and Brodeur felt comfortable that they had enough two-year offers to consider, the Devils stepped up and offered the second year, making Brodeur's decision easy.
He has spent his entire 20-year career in New Jersey, setting a plethora of NHL goaltending records, including most wins (656), shutouts (119), games played (1,191) and minutes played (70,028).
Brodeur cashed in after leading New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final for the fifth time in his career and the first time since 2003. They lost in Game 6 to the Los Angeles Kings, but Brodeur posted 14 wins, a 2.12 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in the postseason. He went 31-21-4 with a 2.41 GAA and .908 save percentage in the regular season.
"We had no interest in a one-year deal going somewhere else," Brodeur said. "If after the first hour I knew nobody would have signed me for two years I would have went back to Lou (Lamoriello) with the one-year offer, but every team we talked to had the two-year deal. That's where we started and then we went back to Lou and made it happen."
Brodeur, though, would not say for sure that this is going to be his last contract. He will be 42 when it expires.
"Circumstances happen sometimes in life that you can't control and I can't say it's not going to happen again, but I'm really happy," Brodeur said. "Two years seems appropriate for me to maybe leave the game at that time, but I'm not 100 percent sure."
Brodeur is also happy that Hedberg will return, even if it means the Devils still have two goalies near the end of their careers.
"It's definitely a nice set-up, but it doesn't really help the future of goaltending for the Devils," he joked.
Hedberg appeared in 61 games over the past two seasons with the Devils and won 32. He went 17-7-2 with four shutouts, a 2.23 GAA and a .918 save percentage this past season.
"We'll definitely bring stability to the back end here like we've been doing for the last year and a half. I can't say two years because we struggled two years ago," Brodeur said, referring to the Devils' woeful first half of the 2010-11 season. "But it's nice to be able to count on somebody that is going to be able to play a bulk of games and really helped me out this year to be fresh and play well on the back end of the season and into the playoffs."
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