How Much Will Brodeur Play This Season?

It’s a short season. You’ve probably heard that enough times to make your ears bleed, but you can’t really get away from it. You’ll hear a LOT this year, particularly from lazy broadcasters on national television (Just kidding, Pierre!). One of the things we  wondered about in our breakdown of this year’s schedule was how the Devils will handle their goaltending split this season.
Tom Gulitti of The Record asked Pete DeBoer if he has an idea of how the split will go:

“I haven’t put a number on it. That’s just going to go by feel. Obviously, he likes to play game. I also think with the number of games we’re going to be playing in a short amount of time that we’re going to need both guys and that’s something that’s going to be a moving target as we go through the season.”

On whether he’d split the back-to-back games (10 sets) between Brodeur and Johan Hedberg like he did last season (except for once):

“That will be a feel (decision), but I thought it worked well last year.”

Corey Griffin

As has been the case for nearly two decades, the Devils’ fate rests on Brodeur’s broad shoulders. Keeping him fresh enough for a stretch run and possible playoff action is arguably DeBoer’s biggest chore this season. While backup Johan Hedberg plays an excellent Troy to Brodeur’s Abed,  he’s still 39 going on 40. It’s not like you can throw him out night after night, either, to give Marty an extended break if he comes up tired. First, let’s take a look at how much Marty played during the 48-game season of 1994-95:

1994-95: 38 starts out of 48 games (79.2 percent)

The 48-game template gives us a good template of how many starts a team with a legit 1A goalie can expect to get in this sort of season. That said, Marty was 22 at the time and really, it was his first full season, although he did split starts the year before. So obviously, it’s a little ambitious to expect Marty to start 80 percent of the time season. So let’s take a look at the last two seasons:

2010-11: 54 starts out of 82 games (65.8 percent)
2011-12: 59 starts out of 82 games (71.9 percent)

Okay, now we’re talking. The last two years the Devils have made a conscious effort to limit Brodeur’s games after years of him starting 70-plus times a year, including limiting his action in back-to-back sets. If not for the lockout, I’d have expected another mid-50′s season, especially given the extended playoff run and lack of time off this summer. So, if you apply the average of the past two seasons (68.9 percent) to a 48-game schedule, you get 33 starts. That would leave 15 starts for Hedberg, at least 10 of which would be the second half of back-to-backs. However, if you take into account that (realistically), even the best goalies are unlikely to play more than 38-40 starts given the compact nature of the schedule, I think 33 is still a little high. Assuming both players are healthy all season, I expect Brodeur to get 30 starts with Hedberg getting the other 18. That means Brodeur would start 62.5 percent of the games and should be entirely fresh for the playoffs.

Thoughts? How many games do you guys think Marty will start this season? Is 18 too many for Hedberg? Let me know in the comments.

Analysis: Devils Islanders Pregame

The Devils and Islanders finish up their home and home series this afternoon at the Prudential Center. The last two games the Devils have just been able to eek by the two bottom teams of the NHL. The Devils won yesterday’s game 1-0 with Johan Hedberg constantly saving their skin. That can’t happen today.

The defense needs to play better in front of Brodeur who is starting in place of Hedberg. The turnover by Adam Larsson in the 3rd period that led to the penalty shot is inexcusable and Larsson must bounce back from his poor play with a strong effort today. If the defense plays smart they should be able to stop the Islanders’ offense.

We should expect more of the offense today since they were only able to produce one goal yesterday. Zach Parise has been goalless in 4 games. He needs to break out of that today and produce. I feel that the most consistent line is the Zubrus-Elias-Sykora line but you can’t rely on just that line to produce. The first line should be able to contribute immensely. Expect lots of chances coming from the first line.

Marty needs to be Marty. He needs to play confident. He can not be afraid to challenge the shooter. If not this Islander team could jump on him early.

Confidence and smart play should lead to a Devils’ victory.

Analysis: Other Potential Suitors For Parise

Now for the record I would like to start off by saying that is NOT fact in any sort of way. This is a look at other teams that Parise would fit well with along with providing a valuable return for the Devils if they are to deal away Parise.

So far this season Parise has not been lighting the lamp as much as we all had hoped. He has just 6 goals and 5 assists in 19 games with a -5 rating while playing on the top line with Henrique and Kovalchuk. Despite the numbers he has been playing very well defensively which maybe just as important as scoring considering the Devils’ defense.

Parise signed a 1 year contract this summer. Everyone had assumed that it was the kiss of death and began to think that Parise’s days in New Jersey were numbered. So trade speculation and rumors are not anything to be surprised about. A couple days ago there was word that the Devils were in talks with the Los Angeles Kings about exchanging Parise for Jonathan Bernier and a top forward. But lets go over some teams that would provide a great return for the Devils in the event that Parise is dealt.

Keep in mind I am looking at the salary cap when it comes to these “deals” so there is no chance they are not possible due to the cap. If you do not know Parise is set to make $6 million this season.

I strongly believe that if Parise is going to be dealt its going to be by a team that is in a “win now” mentality along with giving something back to the Devils. Some other teams that come to mind are the Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals.

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild made some big moves this summer in acquiring Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi from the San Jose Sharks in different deals. Even though the Wild are 1st in the Western Conference they are 28th in the NHL in goals per game. They are going to have to score more goals if they want to keep winning. Who better to be scoring than Zach Parise?

Now the Devils are going to be looking for a goaltender and the Wild have a good goaltender named Josh Harding. In the 7 games he has played this season he has a 1.79 GAA and a .945 save percentage. He has  potential to be a great consistent starting goaltender.

Also the Wild are going to have to throw in another player, I’m think its going to have to be someone that is going to be able to feed the puck to Kovalchuk. Even though Setoguchi just arrived with the Wild I think he could be on the move again. He would work really well with Henrique and Kovalchuk on the top line.

Harding and Setoguchi for Parise. Seems like a fair deal to me for both sides. One final point, Parise may want to go home to Minnesota.

Washington Capitals

Its has been obvious that the Capitals want to win right now. The Capitals are in no short of scoring but they need a defensive forward. Parise is just that and if Parise wants to win his best odds are in Washington. Now Parise won’t just be some offensive defensive expert but he will definitely be able to contribute on offense.

The Capitals are also at the top the of salary cap ceiling and they have one contract that is highly moveable. Alexander Semin’s contract is set to expire at the end of the year. So I think this trade would be a simple one for one trade. Semin would be great to play with Kovalchuk which maybe the solution to a more productive Kovalchuk.

Semin for Parise. One for One. I call that fair for both teams.