If you could ask every New Jersey Devils fan their top 5 Devils of all time, I could almost guarantee that Martin Brodeur would make everyone's list. The image above says it all; he's "our legend," a name synonymous with the Devils' brand of hockey. Even fans of rival teams know that New Jersey was (and still is) a team that builds from the net out, and with Brodeur in net for two decades, fans never had to worry about goaltending.
Why was it never a worry? Because Brodeur was that damn good. Just how good was he? Today, as we draw one day closer to Marty's #30 taking its rightful place in the rafters of the Prudential Center, we look at his numerous achievements, honors, and NHL records.
Honors and Achievements
We all know that Marty is an athlete who was winning awards from the beginning until the end. The following statistics are courtesy of Martin Brodeur's official website and show just how many different awards his won in Juniors, the NHL, and internationally:
1990: QMJHL Rookie All-Star Team
1992: QMJHL Second All-Star Team
1994: Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year
1994: NHL Rookie All-Star Team
2003, 2004 and 2007: Three times NHL All-Star Team
1997, 1998, 2006 and 2008: Four times NHL Second All-Star Team
1995, 2000 and 2003: Three times Stanley Cup winner
2002, 2010 : Won the Olympic Games Gold Medal
1996: Won the Silver Medal at the World Cup; 2004: Won the Gold Medal.
1996: Won the Silver Medal at the World Hockey Championship: 2005: Won the Silver Medal World Hockey Championship
1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008: Nine times participated in the NHL All-Star Game
1997, 1998,2003,2004 and 2010 : Awarded the Williams M. Jennings Trophy as the goalkeeper with the least number of goals scored against during the regular season
2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008: Has won the Vezina Trophy as the best goalkeeper in the NHL
It's an impressive list to be sure; many NHL players have come and gone without ever winning a Stanley Cup, let alone 3 of them. Brodeur can also boast of having 2 Olympic gold medals to his name, again a feat that not many athletes can do.
The Calder Trophy win is one that Brodeur should be proud of; as many know and some may not, Brodeur was not the first goaltender selected during his draft year (that honor would go to Trevor Kidd) and he beat out not only Kidd, but all other rookies as well. Only 16 goalies have ever won the trophy out of the 82 times it has been awarded, putting Marty in the company of names such as Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito, and Terry Sawchuk.
Since the NHL has adopted it's current qualifications for the winner of the Vezina trophy (goaltender judged to be the best at his position) prior to the 1981-82 season, it has been awarded 33 times. Out of those 33 winners, there are only 4 repeat winners; Tim Thomas (twice), Patrick Roy (3 times), Dominik Hasek (6 times) and our own Marty who won it 4 times. With Thomas in the equation or not, that puts Marty in some rather elite company, as 22 separate goalies have won the award, but only these 4 have done it more than once.
The William M. Jennings Trophy is the successor to the original credentials required to win the Vezina; it is awarded to the goaltender(s) playing a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against. Marty is tied with Patrick Roy for the most Jennings Trophy wins since its inception with 5. The only other goalies to win it more than twice are Ed Belfour (4), Dominik Hasek (3), and Brian Hayward (3), which puts him in very limited company.
If I had to choose my favorite from all of Brodeur's above feats, I would say the Stanley Cups because I think if there was no Marty, New Jersey would not have those Stanley Cups. Additionally, when I was watching the Devils growing up, I didn't really understand what the big deal was about all of the other trophies and individual awards, but I certainly knew what the Stanley Cup was. Watching the team lift it above their heads three times as an 8, 13 and 16 year old boy was both amazing and inspiring; plus it's always nice to have bragging rights at school that your team won it all!
Continuing with our look back, now we come to all of the records and distinctions that Marty has earned throughout his NHL career. While the list above was certainly impressive, the following list manages to dwarf it, as he owns a number of different NHL records from his storied career. Statistics again taken directly from Marty's website with some cleaning up via NHL.com for recency.
Most Minutes Played in a Single Season - 4,697 - 2006-07
Most Wins in a Single Season- 48 - 2006-07
Most Consecutive 30 Win Seasons - 12 - 1995-96 through 2007-08
Most Consecutive 35-win seasons (11)
Most 40 Win Seasons - 8 - (1997-98, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2009-10)
Most Consecutive 40 Win Seasons - 3 - 2005-06 through 2007-08
Most All-Time OT Wins - 52
Most All-Time Shootout Wins - 26
Most Shootout Shots Against in a Single Seasons - 60 - 2006-07
Most All-Time Shootout Shots Against - 141
Most Consecutive Post-Season Starts - 158
Best Post-Season Goals-Against Average All-Time - 1.96
Most Shutouts in a Post-Season Series - 3 (tie), 2003 Stanley Cup Finals vs. Anaheim
Most Shutouts in a Post Season (7, in 2002-03)
Most Shutouts, Regular Season + Postseason - 149
Only NHL goaltender to score a game-winning goal
One of only two NHL goalies to score a goal in both the regular season and the playoffs
First goaltender in history to have 3 shutouts in 2 different playoff series. (1995 against Boston Bruins, 2003 against Anaheim Ducks )
Most consecutive opening night starts with one team (17)
Most Regular Season Wins All Time - 691
Most Regular Season Shutouts - 125
Most Games Played All Time by a Goaltender - 1,266
Most 30 Win Seasons - 13
Most Minutes All Time - 74,438
Most Post-Season Shutouts - 24
Most Career Regular Season Goals by a Goaltender - 2
Most Career Goals (Including Playoffs) by a Goaltender - 3
Most Career Saves - 28,508
I don't even know which individual achievement to begin with, but that's 28 different accolades for just one goaltender!
Perhaps we should start with the obvious fact that our Marty has the most regular season victories of any goaltender in the league's 98+ year history; his 691 wins place him 140 wins above the second place Patrick Roy, and no one else in history has topped 500. His most games played in NHL history shows not only his importance to the time, but his durability and longevity as well.
Speaking of longevity, can I mention quickly how Marty was the opening night starter for our team for 17 straight seasons? Some players don't even have playing careers that long! Marty played at such a high level for so long that he was the go to guy in net for the Devils; while there were prospects and other good goaltenders that came through New Jersey, no one could usurp Brodeur until age and Cory Schneider came along.
Perhaps what's even more impressive is the number of wins he picked up season after season; Marty had 12 seasons in a row of 30+ wins (with a 13th to his credit as well), and 11 of those were 35+. He also had 8 seasons where he won 40 or more games; consider that an NHL season consists of only 82 games, and now realize that without even thinking of back-up goaltenders, Marty was winning roughly half of the season's games. While we can attribute some of those Ws to the team in front of him during those years, there's many highlight reels that show Marty making save after save to steal close games for our Devils.
Not only does he have the most wins of any goaltender in history, he also has the most goals scored for a goaltender! That's right, Marty's the only goaltender to have scored more than once in the regular season (and can thank Daymond Langkow and Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal for that) and if you add his playoff goal (a shot on goal which wound up being the game winner) he has the record for most goaltender goals of all time.
My favorite Brodeur records would have to be his 24 postseason shutouts and his 3 shutouts in 2 separate playoff series. Marty always knew when the door needed to be shut, and he helped a team that was never really known for its offense win games by making sure the rubber biscuit stayed out of his net. He almost single-handedly delivered the 2003 Stanley Cup with 3 shutouts of the Anaheim Ducks, and I only wish he could have lifted it once more in 2012.
Five More Days
On February 9th, the Devils will honor arguably the greatest player to ever suit up for the organization; Marty is one of the greatest of all time and his number being raised is something that we Devils fans knew would one day happen. With that day almost upon us, I'd like to hear what you have to say about Martin Brodeur's accomplishments; which one stands out to you? Which of them do you remember seeing either live or on TV? Do you think there's one or more that will never be broken? Leave any and all comments below, thank you for reading, and thank you for everything MB30!