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Jersey Retirement

Elias could be next Devil to have number retired

Other candidates worthy of celebrating: Lamoriello, Lemaire, MacLean, Schneider

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

Brodeur thanks Devils fans

EDM@NJD: Brodeur thanks Devils fans for support

2/9/16: Martin Brodeur chokes up as he thanks Devils fans for their support during his banner ceremony

  • 00:45 •

The retirement ceremony for Martin Brodeur on Tuesday at Prudential Center was a fitting end to a legendary career, an hour-long homage to the greatest of New Jersey Devils and, perhaps, the greatest of goalies in the history of the NHL. 

But it also posed the question of who will be next to be feted by the Devils in a similar manner. 

Even Brodeur, the man of the hour, acknowledged he will not be the last person to be honored by the Devils with such a ceremony. He said he knows the retired number parade, started when defenseman Scott Stevens became the first to be so honored and followed by franchise ironman Ken Daneyko and the smooth-skating Scott Niedermayer, must continue. He said he welcomes the idea of more names joining the list. 

"Along the way we created some great memories and created a lot of great success, and it's kind of nice to have players that are up there," Brodeur said after being serenaded with applause and "Marty, Marty," chants Tuesday. "We're a younger franchise and this is the start of something. 

"Hopefully there will be players that played with us and play in the future that will get their number retired because this is a great franchise, it's a healthy franchise, and I hope it's going to stay here for a long time and be successful for a long time." 

Brodeur even offered a suggestion for who should be next in line for a night of honor by the Devils: Forward Patrik Elias, who spoke during the Brodeur ceremony Tuesday as a representative of the current team. 

Video: EDM@NJD: Brodeur honored by Devils, number retired

"The organization will decide, but don't tell him because he's playing," Brodeur said, laughing. "He'll get mad at you if you talk about a jersey retirement. But look at the reception that he got. At one point I thought it was his own jersey retirement there with the speech he gave. He stole a couple lines of my speech too." 

It's hard to argue with Brodeur's logic. Elias has played all 1,237 games of his NHL career for the Devils and has a franchise-best 407 goals, 60 more than second-place John MacLean. 

But who are the prime candidates to be the next Devils player to have their number retired? 

Here are the five most logical candidates to receive the same honor afforded Brodeur: 

Patrik Elias -- Approaching the end of a career that already has reached two decades, the 39-year-old left wing has played the third-most games with the Devils behind Daneyko (1,283) and Brodeur (1,259). He is the Devils' all-time leader in goals, and assists (615), and is the only Devils player with 1,000 points (1,022). He also was a member of the 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup teams. That's not only a number retirement-worthy resume, they are numbers that should generate a serious conversation about a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

John MacLean -- MacLean scored the biggest goal in Devils history; his overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on the final day of the 1987-88 regular season sent the Devils to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time. MacLean finished with 347 goals as a Devil. He was among the League's elite goal scorers for a stretch, scoring 128 goals during a three-season run from 1988 to 1991. His playing career in New Jersey ended in a bitter divorce and a reunion as coach was short-lived. Today he serves as an analyst for the NHL Network and on Devils television broadcasts. 

Lou Lamoriello -- He has no number to retire but the Devils one day will find a way to permanently honor Lamoriello. He is the New Jersey Devils. Upon taking over as general manager in 1987, Lamoriello forged an identity and ethos that turned the Devils into a perennial Stanley Cup contender throughout the 1990s and 2000s. There's no way to accurately measure the impact Lamoriello had on the franchise as he had his hands in almost every facet of the business during his tenure, which ended with his move from GM to president in May 2015 and subsequent departure to become GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a similar capacity. Brodeur said he believes Lamoriello deserves all the praise possible: "You play for the Devils, it's in you. [Lamoriello] is not there anymore and I'm not part of the organization anymore, but it's in you. He ingrained that into us, in all of the players. All the players, we grew up in it and that was all that mattered; it was the team. We wanted this organization to continue to have success. We built something. The Montreal Canadiens built something and they expect their players to follow suit. That's what Lou tried to build here in New Jersey." 

Jacques Lemaire -- Lemaire coached the Devils for six-and-a-half seasons in two stints and guided them to the Stanley Cup in 1995. But Lemaire's contributions go beyond his 276 wins. He was the embodiment of the identity Lamoriello envisioned, serving as the link between the legendary Canadiens and the organization looking to emulate them. Lemaire taught the Devils how to win and led them to their first title, paving the way for the successes enjoyed by Larry Robinson and Pat Burns, who coached the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003, respectively.   

Cory Schneider -- Yes, Brodeur's successor is 160 games into his career with the Devils, but we had to go with a longshot for the final pick here. As much as Sergei Brylin, the only player other than the four players whose numbers are retired to play on all three Stanley Cup winners, is a sentimental choice, it is impossible not to project what Schneider could accomplish. He could have another decade with the Devils and already is fourth in their history (including Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Scouts) for wins with 66. With his next win he'll tie Chico Resch for third and could pass No. 2 Chris Terreri (118) by the end of next season. Perhaps the next great goaltender in New Jersey is taking root as we watch.

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