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Brodeur ready for challenge as Blues assistant GM

by Louie Korac /

ST. LOUIS -- When Martin Brodeur announced his retirement as a player, he had an idea where he wanted his life to go. He just didn't know where that would be.

Brodeur, who retired from the NHL with the most regular-season wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes played (74,439), joined the St. Louis Blues front office as a senior adviser to general manager Doug Armstrong in January and was named assistant general manager on Wednesday.

"I'm really excited to join the organization," Brodeur said Thursday. "I had a good learning curve last season jumping in after retirement and going as a senior adviser to Doug. That led me to make the decision to stay long term here in St. Louis and I'm really excited for the opportunity."

Brodeur, 43, played 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils before joining the Blues as a free agent this season. He played seven games for St. Louis, which included a 16-save shutout against the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 29, and was 3-3-0 with a 2.87 goals-against average and .899 save percentage before announcing his retirement Jan. 29.

He becomes an important piece of the Blues front office in helping structure a roster that has been on the cusp of making strides in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but has not been able to get out of the first round the past three seasons.

"Last year when he came in, he came in here to help us out on the ice, and when we got healthy in goal, he told me he still wanted to participate in a team structure as far as being around," Armstrong said. "It gave me a good opportunity to get to know him. Traveling with him and getting his understanding of the game, certainly of the goaltending position, I gained quite a bit of knowledge about that one area, things that he looks for in a player. But then more importantly, talking about playing on winning teams, talking about winning characteristics of championship teams and championship players, that just sort of led into what he wanted to do moving forward.

"I look at where Marty is right now as someone maybe like Rob Blake in Los Angeles, an All-Star player, a Hall of Fame player that wants to get into management, is willing to put the time in to understand this side of the business."

Brodeur, who has put his New Jersey home up for sale, will move to St. Louis and be responsible for observing the Blues' minor-league teams, particularly the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

"He's going to be in the office, he'll touch our minor-league system watching our players, he'll travel with our team when I'm not around and sometimes with us together," Armstrong said. "He's going to learn the business side of it from player contracts to the mundane of scheduling and all the things that go on about behind the scenes to put a team on the ice from a business perspective and competitive perspective.

"It's really going to be an open canvas for him to explore and to get stronger. I think one day, probably the goal is to be a [general] manager. I really appreciate the way that he wants to go about doing this in putting the time in to make sure he's building a foundation for himself so as matures in his off-ice capacities, he'll be ready for whatever job's ahead of him."

Brodeur has made it clear in the past that he's not interested in coaching. He's more intrigued by the management side of the NHL and this is the first step to what he hopes is an opportunity to become a general manager.

"I had the luxury to spend a lot of time with Doug and also with Dave Taylor and Bob Gainey," Brodeur said. "I asked a lot of questions about the position. I'm definitely up for the challenge. There definitely will be some learning curves for me going forward, but I'm excited about this new chapter in my life and my career. I'll do my best to be as much as an impact as possible."

With the Devils naming Ray Shero as general manager, and longtime GM Lou Lamoriello stepping down and focusing more on his role as president of hockey operations, there was talk of Brodeur potentially going back to New Jersey.

"We always kept in touch, me and Doug, throughout this whole process," Brodeur said. "I never really had any conversations with any other organization. I was just glad that I got an opportunity to live the great experience last season. My goal was to come back to St. Louis.

"It's something that I've built throughout my career is stability. So for me, some of the conversations that I've had with Doug, if I was going to make a move, it was going to be for more than one year. I'm excited that we were able to make a deal that I'll be able to stay at least for the next three seasons."

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