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Brodeur unsure he'll be with Devils after deadline

by Dan Rosen

NEWARK, N.J. -- A sellout crowd of 16,592 fans packed Prudential Center on Tuesday night, and they were still chanting for their favorite goalie long after Martin Brodeur left the ice following the New Jersey Devils' 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

"We want Marty," they yelled in unison. "Marty, Marty, Marty…" they repeatedly chanted before and during the game.

If this was Brodeur's final game as a Devil, he went out in style, with his NHL-record 684th victory, all with the only franchise he has ever played for.

However, nobody, not even Brodeur, is sure if this was his final game with New Jersey because it's unclear if he will be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Brodeur, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, said following the game that he has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause yet. "I don't know," he added when asked if he thinks he will still be a Devil after the deadline.

Brodeur also said he has had conversations with general manager Lou Lamoriello about his immediate future, but he is keeping those private. He wouldn't rule out the possibility of signing a contract extension with the Devils before the deadline passes, saying, "It's not something that is out of the question.

"I had some good conversations with Lou about what I want to do for the rest of the year and maybe next year," Brodeur said. "From there, you know, it's up to him to make the decision that he wants. He knows exactly where I stand. These are private matters between me and him. It's been a hard couple weeks and it's been a hard last part of the season with me with not playing a lot. We'll see what's going to happen."

Brodeur has started and won two of the past three games. If he stays with New Jersey beyond the deadline, there's a chance he could start again Friday in Detroit. He would almost certainly start one of the Devils' next two games because they play Friday in Detroit and Saturday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"If I'm here I hope so," Brodeur said when asked if he thinks he'll start Friday. "It's all about getting some wins. Next weekend is a back-to-back, so we'll see."

Speculation about a trade involving Brodeur is active now because his days of being the No. 1 goalie in New Jersey appear to be over. The game Tuesday was Brodeur's first at Prudential Center since Jan. 7. He has started five of the past 19 games; Cory Schneider started the other 14.

Brodeur wants to play a lot more than he is now and feels he can still play at a high level. That's why he'd consider waiving his no-trade clause if Lamoriello approached him with a potential trade.

"That's what I'm trying to tell myself, to say to myself, that I still can play this game and I just need the opportunity," Brodeur said. "So, it's kind of nice to be between the pipes the last few games to prove I still can compete at a high level and get some wins. It's all about winning. It's not about stats. For me it's all about getting Ws."

Brodeur said he has not gone in depth with teammates about his situation, but he admitted that he has spoken with Jaromir Jagr about handling the trade speculation because Jagr has been through it in the past. Jagr, in fact, went through it as recently as last season, when he was traded from the Dallas Stars to the Boston Bruins shortly before the deadline.

"Of course if something happens I would hate to see him go because you're losing a very good goaltender and a very good guy, and the face of this franchise," Jagr told "On the other side I want him to be happy. What makes him happy is to play the game. If he plays the game here or somewhere else, it's up to him. I understand that. He doesn't want to sit around. It's not going to make him happy.

"There's no way without the competitiveness in your body that you can last for so long and play in the League at such a high level," Jagr said. "You have it inside. Once you lose it it's time to retire, but he didn't lose it. He wants to play. I understand that."

However, Brodeur might be facing the harsh reality that there isn't a team out there willing to give him the playing time he wants. Most playoff contending teams have their No. 1 goalies already, and a series of on Tuesday didn't help his cause.

The Minnesota Wild seemed like a reasonable landing place, a team Brodeur would have waived his no-trade clause to go to, but they took care of their goaltending need by acquiring Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers for a fourth-round pick. Bryzgalov, an unrestricted free agent after the season, will serve as Darcy Kuemper's backup.

The Anaheim Ducks traded Viktor Fasth to the Oilers because they had a surplus of goaltenders, including Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen.

Brodeur also still has competition in the goalie market with the Buffalo Sabres likely trying to move Jaroslav Halak. It's possible that the Florida Panthers may be looking to trade Tim Thomas after they acquired Roberto Luongo on Tuesday.

"Teams are making moves for different reasons, what they need," Brodeur said. "For me, I have my own situation and it doesn't matter where other goalies end up [Tuesday]. We'll see what [Wednesday] is going to bring."

It's possible, if not likely, that Brodeur's best chance to play a lot down the stretch is by staying with the Devils because DeBoer has been consistent in rewarding the goalie he feels is playing best with more ice time.

Schneider had it going for a while, but Brodeur has won his past two starts, giving up four goals on 42 shots.

"Whether he's here or not, he's the face of this organization for the last 20-plus years," center Travis Zajac said. "All the shutout records, the win records, that will never be forgotten. He's the best goalie to ever play the game and he played for the Devils. Everyone will remember that, no matter what happens."


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