Martin Brodeur (Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Former New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur said he wanted to return to New Jersey once his playing career was over and had to think about the assistant GM offer from the Blues before accepting. In hindsight, though, Brodeur said he made the right move, as some longtime Devils front office staff have left the organization this off-season.
In one off-season, the New Jersey Devils have said goodbye to Lou Lamoriello, Jacques Lemaire and longtime scout David Conte. This coming after a season in which they parted ways with all-time Devils great Martin Brodeur.
When it comes to Brodeur, who had a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues in 2014-15 before hanging up his skates and joining the Blues’ front office, things could have been much different for him post-career. In a recent interview, the 43-year-old sure-fire Hall of Famer said when he first retired, he had wanted to return to the New Jersey organization. Turns out Brodeur made the correct choice.
"[The Blues] offered me the (assistant GM) job, and I had to think about it a little bit," Brodeur told NHL.com’s Arpon Basu. "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.”
It’s not that Brodeur doesn’t believe in what the Devils are doing — he said he hoped it was in the organization’s best interest to shuffle the deck as much as they have — but rather that he was shocked to see so many of the team’s familiar faces leaving. That especially includes Lamoriello, who had been the Devils’ GM for 28 years.
Brodeur doesn’t harbor any bad feelings about how things shook out, though, and he seems pleased with his current job in St. Louis.
"There's nothing bad that happened with the Devils, at least from my side of things anyway," Brodeur told Basu. "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.”
Indeed, it would be like joining the Penguins. Over the course of the off-season, the Devils have brought in fresh blood. The GM reins being handed to former Penguins GM Ray Shero, assistant GM duties going to former Penguins assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald and AHL Penguins coach John Hynes landing the job as Devils bench boss. Veteran players Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus won’t be back in New Jersey. Patrik Elias, 39, is likely entering one of his final seasons. These Devils aren’t the championship Devils that Brodeur was so accustomed to suiting up alongside.
As for St. Louis, Brodeur didn’t join the Blues as an assistant GM until May 20, so the 2015-16 campaign will be his first full season in the role. The record-holding goaltender told Basu he has a lot to learn, but with his track record of success, it might only be time until he gets the hang of his new position.
"When you play hockey, you don't realize all the work these people do,” Brodeur told Basu. “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].”