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Brodeur surprised to see Lamoriello go to Maple Leafs

by Arpon Basu / NHL.com

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- It's been a strange few months for the New Jersey Devils, with the two most iconic figures in their history each taking jobs with other organizations.

First, longtime goaltender Martin Brodeur became the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues on May 20. Then Lou Lamoriello, who had stepped down as general manager May 4 after 28 years on the job and was replaced by Ray Shero, resigned as team president July 23 and accepted an offer to become GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If it felt strange for Devils fans to see Lamoriello working for another team, it felt that much more bizarre for Brodeur.

"I was really surprised," Brodeur said Tuesday at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "I had some conversations with [Lou] and I knew what was going on a bit, but it was still surprising to see all the changes going on there. I hope it's for the good of the organization."

Watching Lamoriello standing next to Brodeur's former teammate, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, at his introductory press conference became jarring for Brodeur once he looked at the lapel on Lamoriello's suit jacket.

"It was the Maple Leafs pin on his suit that I found weird," he said with a laugh.

As strange as it might seem, Brodeur is convinced Shanahan made the right move by getting Lamoriello to leave New Jersey to oversee a considerable rebuilding project in Toronto.

"He's going to provide experience for Brendan Shanahan, for everyone," Brodeur said. "He's been in this business for 28 years, he knows how to run an organization, how to run a winning organization, so it's a big plus for the organization to be able to bring in a man of his stature. Obviously, he's not in his prime anymore, but I think this is going to give him a little spark after everything that's happened. I'm very happy for him."

It wasn't that long ago Brodeur was considering what direction his own future should take as he considered an offer from the Blues to join their front office as an assistant to general manager Doug Armstrong. Brodeur worked as a senior adviser to Armstrong during the final months of the 2014-15 season after playing the final seven games of his NHL career for the Blues and announcing his retirement Jan. 29.

Though he admits he hesitated about the decision to join the Blues on a more permanent basis because he wanted to return to work for the Devils, in retrospect he said he's happy with his decision.

"[The Blues] offered me the job, and I had to think about it a little bit," Brodeur said. "I would have liked to go back to New Jersey, so it took some time for me to make my decision. But for me to go back there after everything that's happened in New Jersey lately, I think I made the right move."

Brodeur said he did have an offer to work for the Devils, but it was not in a front office role and he preferred the offer from the Blues. In any case, with the changing of the guard under Shero, Brodeur feels less of an attachment to the Devils, who he played for 21 of his 22 NHL seasons.

"There's nothing bad that happened with the Devils, at least from my side of things anyway," Brodeur said. "With all the new faces over there, for me to walk into the arena in New Jersey now would be like walking into any team's arena for me because everyone is gone.

"It would be as if I was joining Pittsburgh instead."

Brodeur's role with the Blues will be focused on keeping tabs on their prospects playing in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves and scattered throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

But he was involved in discussions surrounding what was a busy offseason for the Blues, most importantly the trade of forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals for forward Troy Brouwer and the eight-year, $60 million contract extension signed by forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

The work has opened Brodeur's eyes to a new world, one he said he didn't really understand as a player and doesn't entirely grasp now.

"It's a lot of work," he said. "When you play hockey, you don't realize all the work these people do. When I got the chance to work next to them, really closely with my GM, there were a lot of things I didn't know that a general manager did. So I'm gaining a lot of experience every day, and maybe one day if an opportunity presents itself, I might like [being a GM]. But right now I'm not ready, that's for sure."

Getting ready is now Brodeur's focus as he transitions into a life wearing a suit instead of goalie pads.

"I'm going back to St. Louis for good this weekend, so I'll be at the office to see if my computer still works," Brodeur said. "It's something I've never really done before."

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