Now that Martin Brodeur remains with the Devils, it's time for him to take a seat

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Brodeur is still a New Jersey Devil, and if they are smart, they will limit how many more games he plays for them.

When NHL trade deadline passed on Wednesday afternoon it did so without the New Jersey Devils trading Martin Brodeur.

Whether that is because general manager Lou Lamiorello (or Brodeur himself) did not want it to happen or because they could not find a team willing to trade for him is unknown. Either way, the future Hall of Famer will remain -- at least for the remainder of this season -- with the only team that he has ever known in the NHL.

For the sentimental fan, the fan that likes seeing players spend an entire career with one team, this is a good thing.

Arguably the best player in franchise history and one of the best to ever play his position, it just would not have looked quite right to see Brodeur wearing a Minnesota Wild or Chicago Blackhawks jersey. And who knows, something like that still may happen in the future. But at least for now such a move has been delayed. Devils fans had their moment to salute him against the Detroit Red Wings on the night before the deadline, and they even came away with a win.

But if the Devils are serious about making a run at the playoffs -- and their willingness to trade for Tuomo Ruutu and most of his remaining contract seems to suggest that they are -- they need to do what is best for the franchise and its current playoff chances. Glue Brodeur to the bench for the majority of their remaining 19 games.

Yeah, that is a harsh thing to say about one of the all-time greats, but it's something that should have already happened this season if not earlier. The Devils have to separate the Brodeur they know and love (the guy that is a legend of the game and a three-time Stanley Cup champion), from the guy they currently have. And what they currently have is a goalie that is by any objective measure one of the worst in the league.

If this was a new development this season it might at least be a little understandable to keep playing him every other night and taking away starts from a superior player, but it's something that's been building for at least four years now. It's just now getting to the point where it might be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs.

There are 41 goalies across the league this season that have qualified for the league leaders in save percentage. Brodeur is currently 38th on that list, ahead of only Reto Berra, Kevin Poulin and Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk has been traded twice and waived once this season. Poulin is currently in the minor leagues. And Berra was just traded from Calgary to Colorado on deadline day.

Since the start of the 2010-11 season 36 goalies have appeared in at least 100 games. Brodeur ranks 34th on that list with a .903 save percentage, well below the league average, and ahead of only Mathieu Garon and Nikolai Khabibulin. Neither goalie is currently in the NHL.

Over that time period other goalies to play for the Devils have a .912 save percentage while playing behind the same defense and within the same system. It increases to an even larger gap this season with Cory Schneider (.923 vs. .899).

Since the end of January, the Devils have started to swing the playing time more in Schneider's favor, and that's a good thing. Schneider has received eight of the past 10 starts. But had they given Schneider the bulk of the playing time from the start of the season, instead of the near 50-50 split they had been going with, it's quite possible that they might already be in a playoff position right now. Given their current save percentages and the number of shots the Devils give up on a nightly basis (a league-low 25.1) even an additional 10 starts for Schneider could have been the difference between an extra three or four points in the standings (an extra 10 starts, based on the numbers, would have seen the Devils give up roughly eight fewer goals this season).

That may not seem like a lot, but considering New Jersey is only two points out of the final Wild Card spot in the East, and its playoff chances are likely to come down to just a handful of points at the end of the season, that's a pretty big deal.

New Jersey has 19 regular season games remaining on the schedule. If the starts are based on the current level of play of the two goalies and doing what is best for the playoffs, Brodeur should get maybe four of the starts; one in each of the four remaining back-to-back situations the Devils have on the schedule.

Anything less is simply not giving your team its best chance to win.

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