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Brodeur signs one-year contract with Blues

by Louie Korac / NHL.com

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Martin Brodeur said he had no intention of retiring, even if it meant sitting out the entire 2014-15 season.

The 42-year-old, who had spent his entire 21-season career with the New Jersey Devils and holds nearly all NHL goaltending records, will resume his career with the St. Louis Blues after agreeing Tuesday to a one-year contract worth a pro-rated base pay of $700,000.

The contract includes playing bonuses, among them $10,000 for every point the Blues earn with Brodeur in goal as well as undisclosed roster bonuses if he's on an NHL roster Feb. 1 and March 1 as well as playoff bonuses, according to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. According to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, those roster bonuses are $125,000 for each month.

"Let's say [Brodeur] was to win 50 games. It's a pretty good million dollars spent," Armstrong said about Brodeur's bonus for points earned per game. "... It was an easy decision for us when [Brodeur] told us can compete at this level."

Brodeur said he doesn't have a no-trade clause in his contract.

He joined the Blues on a tryout basis and skated for the first time Friday at a morning skate. He skated again Saturday at a morning skate and then on his own at the Blues' practice facility by himself Sunday. He skated with the team for full practices Monday and Tuesday and then deemed himself fit and ready to return to active duty.

Brodeur was brought in to split time with 24-year-old Jake Allen while Brian Elliott recovers from a knee injury sustained Nov. 25 against the Ottawa Senators.

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"They wanted to give me as much time as I wanted to make my decision," Brodeur said of the Blues. "I don't know when they made their decision having me around. We finalized everything after practice. But going into this practice [Tuesday], I knew I was going to get the contract."

Brodeur had left his options open after not being brought back by the Devils after last season. He was hoping to find a team that has Stanley Cup aspirations, and the Blues were at the top of his list.

"I've been waiting for a great opportunity and it came from the Blues," said Brodeur, who will make his debut Thursday against the Nashville Predators or Saturday against the New York Islanders. "... I feel good in the net. Until I play games it's going to be hard to tell before that. But I'm going to prepare myself for that until I get that first start.

"This is a big change for me. I spent the last four days enjoying my time here and really putting everything in perspective if I was ready to do this. I talked to friends and family. This is the right move for me to do and being with the St. Louis Blues right now."

Brodeur has an NHL-record 688 wins. His 124 career shutouts also are first in NHL history. He won the Stanley Cup three times, the Calder Trophy in 1993-94 and the Vezina Trophy four times.

Coach Ken Hitchcock and goalie coach Jim Corsi watched Brodeur closely the past few days at practice, and there never was a question of Brodeur's desire to compete and play in the NHL.

"He wanted to play. He wants to play," Hitchcock said Tuesday. "I was concerned like anybody that's missed a full training camp and missed exhibition season and the start of the season. How do you feel after you've had to practice at a high level? I can tell with a lot of older guys it's more about the recovery. So for me it was the read on the recovery after yesterday, how he felt this morning. He was a little bit sore this morning but felt good and then he got through the practice again today and felt good. That's more the read.

"Can he stop pucks? ... He can stops pucks in his sleep for me. Do you have the energy to keep going? Because the energy's going to be there in the second half of games and we needed to see that and he needed to feel it. Once he green-lighted it, we know he can help us."

Brodeur has an open mind as to how long he will be with the Blues, or if he's auditioning for another team whenever Elliott returns.

"I don't know; this is the part I can't answer and nobody can answer," Brodeur said. "This is what I can control and that's what I'm doing for myself. I'm playing the game and being the best teammate that I can be and try to help these guys. They have a special group. ... If they need any kind of leadership, hopefully I can provide that. The situation of the goalies is definitely going to be different when Brian comes back, but that's something that I know what I'm getting into.

"I'm not here to change anything. I'm just happy about the situation I'm in. The reason why I was picky about what I wanted to do or what kind of team I wanted to play for, the Blues were at the top of the list. There's other teams I might have considered, but if it would have been a team that's not in the same position, there's no way I would have went there."

Armstrong said he spoke with Elliott and Allen and explained why the move was necessary and said both were fine with it.

"We don't have a crystal ball; we're just going to take it day-by-day. And when Brian's ready to go, hopefully we have some hard decisions to make," Armstrong said. "... We've talked about the what-ifs, but we haven't spent a lot of time on what-ifs. Marty's been dealing with the what-ifs to get here today. He's going to go and he's going to play when asked to play. When Brian's ready he'll be back in here. Our goaltenders are Brian and Jake. We believe in them. We're looking for someone that can give us the support needed where every point matters in the NHL.

"I told [Elliott and Allen] prior to our discussions [with Brodeur]. I wanted to let those guys know that, 'We're bringing in Marty out of respect for what you guys mean to the team. Don't read too much into it, but every point matters and we have to put the best guys on the ice.'"

Hitchcock said: "Everybody knows what the game plan is. Marty is here to help us until Brian gets healthy. It's pretty simple. Brian gets healthy ... what this does is allows Brian to get healthy in the proper manner and not rush it. It's a win-win for everybody. Marty gets to get his career started, see how he feels, see how he does. Helps us hopefully have an opportunity to continue down a strong path of winning hockey games because we've got three tough opponents coming up."

Brodeur said he knows when the right time will come along to leave the game as an active player. It's just not now.

"I just want to have fun," Brodeur said. "I've got nothing to prove to myself. I just want to go out and enjoy the season and enjoy the winning way like I was able to do in New Jersey for a lot of years. Things changed there in the past few years so it was hard to leave the game. And not making the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs for two years in a row. For me, I just want to get back. It's so much fun playing hockey when you win. I want to gain that back. Hopefully with the Blues it's going to be a long year still ahead."

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