NHL: The number one goaltenders on the verge of disappearing according to Martin Brodeur

Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur can’t believe how unstable the goalie position has become in the NHL.

In an interview with Pierre LeBrun of the athletic, He points out that the status of goalkeepers has become truly volatile and that the results of these goalkeepers are now unpredictable.

“The sport has changed, but this position has changed a lot, just because of the workload these guys have,” said the New Jersey Devils vice president of hockey operations, who played for nearly 22 years in the NHL. He is so volatile. The first year you can be the best goalkeeper but the second year it’s like you don’t even have a place in the league anymore. It’s strange how volatile the position has become. »

Brodeur adds that it’s hard to trust goaltenders when it comes to consistency. “Right now in the league there are probably five guys you can count on, maybe even eight. At that time there were 30 boys. So it’s different. Like I said, I think it’s the workload, I think it’s also the talent of the players. You know. For years, people said, “Goalkeepers are very good. We have to find a way to score goals.” »

“Now it’s like you have to find guards to stop these guys. »

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was the go-to goaltender during Tampa Bay’s back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in 2020 and 2021, while last year Adin Hill didn’t start a playoff game until the second round in the Vegas Golden Knights’ rise to the cup.

Darcy Kuemper, who led the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 2022, was no longer with the team the following season. At the start of the 2018-19 season, Jordan Binnington was the fourth-ranked goalie in the St. Louis Blues’ hierarchy before leading them to their first title.

Brodeur, who won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003 with the Devils, also sees the phenomenon on his own team.

“Last year we had (Vitek) Vanecek, who, with his stats (2.45 goals against and .911 save percentage), was maybe a little above average. But he helped us have a great season in New Jersey. Last year we had the highest number of points in the classification. And I say to myself: “I have been part of very good teams. »

“With a slightly above-average goalkeeper we were able to achieve these results. This year was a little more difficult. »

This year it is indeed more difficult for the goalkeeper who shows a goals against average of 3.18 and a save percentage of .890. “It is the 1A and 1B system that will create this,” Brodeur continued. Because it will always be: “We can’t play (games) in a row.” You’re so afraid that number one will get hurt. »

Vanecek is no longer with the Devils, who traded him to the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline.

“So guys are playing 55 games when they should be playing 65 to 70 games like us. »

“I think we pamper our goalkeepers. I see. I am part of. It’s like my goalkeeping coach said: “He’s played five games in the last eight days…” I say: So what?

Brodeur is also quick to point out that teams have also had success with pairings in goal.

“It is the reality now: you have to have two goalkeepers. I think this is where it gets distorted. It has become difficult to find a number one. There is one in Nashville, Tampa and Calgary. There are some places that have them. But there are not many. They are mostly tandems. »

“You look at Boston. They have been living with a couple of caregivers for two years. »

Brodeur, however, says the overall skill level is better than ever in goal. “The average goalkeeper is better than when I played. They are incredible athletes. But you get to the games: the game is so open that if you are a young goalkeeper it is more difficult… we see it now. We traded our young goaltenders to the minors and got two older goaltenders. We see how much experience matters. »

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