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Brodeur thinks Parise’s departure, Kovalchuk’s absence explains failed playoff bid

Apr 21, 2013, 7:03 PM EDT

ryaneclowegetty Getty Images

The New York Rangers officially booted the New Jersey Devils from the playoff conversation by beating them 4-1 on Sunday, but Martin Brodeur told the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti that it was just a matter of time.

If that’s true, then the natural question is: why did the defending Eastern Conference champions fail to even make the playoffs? The future Hall of Famer chalks it up to lost star power.

“There’s Zach [Parise]. That’s a top-three forward we never got back,” Brodeur said. “When Kovy went down, it made a big difference in not having another top guy. That was probably the big difference that you see.”

Both scorers were surely missed, but more than a few people wonder how much more competitive the Devils might have been if their goaltending was better.

That weakness seemed clearest when the 40-year-old netminder was injured and forced to watch Johan Hedberg struggle, yet the team suffered from weak netminding for most of 2013. Only seven teams sported a poorer collective save percentage than Brodeur-Hedberg did this season.

One can debate the Devils’ fatal flaw, but Brodeur seems pretty convinced that their most glaring weakness came on offense.

“At the end of the day, when you don’t score goals or you don’t score them timely anyway and when you do you don’t score many, it’s going to hurt you,” Brodeur said. “You can get all the excuses, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to feel good about the way you played and for us we worked really hard and we feel real good, it was just not enough this year.”

  1. dumbassgreg - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    biggest problem is defense. would any of these guys even dress as more then 6th defensemen when new jersey was winning. they are like detriot defense goes down hill so goes rest of team

    • letsgopens8771 - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      Absolutely. Defense wins you championships.

      • haterzinc - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:42 AM

        Offense sells tickets….oh wait not in New Jersey

  2. jessejames182 - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Shortened season because of parise’s and kovalchuck’s contracts didn’t help either…just saying.

  3. letsgopens8771 - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Even with the Devils out of a playoff spot, I still wouldn’t write them off as a bad team. Marty’s 100% right, even though that’s not the only reason that the Devils aren’t in the playoffs this year. They will be back next year, I have no doubt of that.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      What if Brodeur retires? They have some prospects but imagine having to replace Martin Brodeur. Talk about pressure. And he’s the key to making their system work. He almost always stops teams from chipping the puck in and retrieving bc he’s so good at playing it. They were terrible without him (except against the Flyers). I’d say that was a glimpse of the future. NJ tends to find a way to succeed but Idk if they’ll be close to playoffs when he leaves.

      • letsgopens8771 - Apr 21, 2013 at 8:01 PM

        Yeah that’s the real scary thing. It would be weird seeing a Brodeur-less Devil team next year. Totally agree.

  4. raleik - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    I doubt the Bruins resign Khudobin next year with their ridiculous goalie depth. Devils should sign him, give him one more year as a backup to learn behind Marty, then hand the reigns over to him the following year when Marty retires.

    • windmiller4 - Apr 21, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      why wouldn’t they want to sign Khudobin? Goalie is the most important position in hockey, depth at that position is extremely valuable. Worst case scenario one of Khudobin or Subban doesn’t pan out, and they still have great goaltending, and the option to trade either the better of the two, or rask for a good player. Best case scenario, both Subban and Khudobin reach their potential, and they have two guys who are very good trade bait. The dumbest move at this point would be to let any of them go for nothing.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:28 PM

        Except the Bruins will have to worry about fitting their core under a lower cap ceiling. Maybe they resign Khudobin, but don’t you think he’d like to test free agency and see if he can get a starting job somewhere? He’s unrestricted so it’s not just contingent on what the Bruins want. And if he leaves then they have Svedberg, who appears more than capable of holding down the job. IMO, Khudobin will be pretty sought after following an impressive season.

      • raleik - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM

        As philly said, it’s not just Khudobin and Subban. Svedberg was just named the AHL’s top goaltender, and seems perfectly capable of coming up here and backing Rask up. That way, Subban can get a couple years starting with Providence. And, regardless of whether we want Khudobin back or not, we still need to give Rask a long term contract and Khudobin likely wants to be a starter. So, I foresee Khudobin going to one of the teams that needs a starting goalie, Svedberg making the jump to the NHL as Rask’s backup, and Subban taking over for Svedberg in the AHL.

      • windmiller4 - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:33 AM

        All good points about Svedberg, and also about Khudobin wishing to test the market, but what team is in the hunt for a starting goalie? Tampa has Bishop and Lindback, Toronto seems to have solved their goaltending issue, maybe New Jersey, but Broduer still has 1 year left on his contract, so Khudobin would be backing up at least that much longer. Who knows, maybe Philly could try to take him, if they buy out Bryz of course. He is a very good goalie, but by the same token, there isn’t a lot of teams looking for a starter. If they can resign him to a 1-2 year deal at around 1.5 – 2Mill per, then by all means do it. He could become a valuable trade chip (and fetch a return similar to what Ottawa got for Bishop), and great insurance if rask gets injured again. Keeping Svedberg in the AHL might be the best option for his development, as he would play a majority of the games, which would allow Subban to ease into his pro career without the pressure or expectations of being a number one right off the bat.

  5. hockinj25 - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Thanks Captain Obvious.

  6. martysbetter - Apr 21, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Marty has 1 more year left on the deal he signed this past offseason, so he’ll be back between the pipes next year.

    He’s right though, before yesterdays “offensive explosion” this team was dead last in the NHL in goals per game – that doesn’t get it done.

  7. modellforprez - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Ya think Marty!!

  8. gbditka - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Devils eliminated….all I have left this season is to watch the Senators piss pound on Matt Cooke tomorrow night to revenge the Karlsson injury. Watch Pittsburgh make his a “healthy scratch.”

    • haterzinc - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      @gbditka . You can watch that in the 1 st round of the playoffs…. Sens vs pens

  9. skydivn01 - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    The Devils not making the playoffs is squarely on Lou Lamoriello. First, you can’t let Parise go and not replace his contributions (31G/38A). Second, Kovi goes down and you do nothing related to trades to help/offset that. Third, What are we going to stop with, at best, 3rd line defenders?? HELP!! And last, I love Marty.. but we are not doing anything to postion ourselves for his replacement. Why wouldn’t we have looked to trade for Ben Bishop when he was clearly on the trading blocks?

    Sorry Lou… you can’t piece together 3rd and 4th liners and cook up a playoff team. Pull the head out and make some noise in the offseason.

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