Let's be honest for a minute, people love nostalgia. People love to reminisce about the glory days, especially when it comes to famous people, like the sports stars of yesterday for example. Hence the big reason why the majority of Pittsburgh Penguins' fans were so excited a few years ago when #Jagrwatch took place, when it seemed as though former Pens' winger Jaromir Jagr was coming back to end his career where it started. As you know, the ending of that story is very bad. Jagr signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and it tarnished his legacy even more with much of the Penguins' fan-base.
The Penguins have brought back stars from yesterday before. In 2010-2011, when superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were both injured, the Penguins brought back former All-Star winger Alexei Kovalev at the trade deadline. The Pens didn't give anything of value to get Kovalev, but Kovalev still was a really bad shell of his former self, tallying only 9 points and three goals in 27 games including the playoffs. Yikes. On top of that, the Pens re-signed former defenseman Robert Scuderi last summer to a three-year deal, worth $3.75 million per year. Scuderi was considered "The piece" thanks to his heroic defensive performance during the 2008-2009 Stanley cup championship run with the Pens. The re-signing of Scuderi was no doubt influenced by the nostalgia of Scuderi and what he had done four years earlier in his career. Former General Manager Ray Shero had said that he made a mistake by re-signing Scuderi when he signed him last summer. As it turns out, Scuderi ended up being the worst defenseman on the Penguins, and signing him last summer was a much bigger mistake by Shero than letting him go
Nostalgia might once again come into play with the Pens if the reports are correct, although not with a former Penguins player. 42-year old veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur is a unrestricted free-agents, and it appears that the Pens are one of the six or so teams that involves a mutual destination for the aging netminder.According to @LouisJean_TVA, agent Pat Brisson confirmed Pens are among six teams that are interested in Martin Brodeur. For those of you that are too young to remember, Brodeur has been a thorn in the Penguins side for the past two decades, and is the winning-est goaltender of all-time, including three Stanley Cup championships as a starter. There is an argument to made for Brodeur as the best goaltender in NHL history.
I understand why people would want Brodeur in Pittsburgh as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup. Brodeur was Fleury's hero growing up. Brodeur could be a mentor to Fleury and certainly teach him a few things. Brodeur has tons of experience and from what I gather most fans would feel a lot more comfortable having a veteran backup like Brodeur instead of a young inexperienced goaltender like Jeff Zatkoff, the current Penguins' backup goaltender.
That being said, signing Brodeur would almost definitely end up just like the Scuderi signing and the trade for Kovalev. The sex appeal is based on Brodeur's name and his career, instead of what the Penguins actually need. Brodeur's save percentage last year was .901 which was tied for 42nd in the NHL. For those that will point out he was playing for a significantly less talented New Jersey Devils team, the Devil's other goaltender, Cory Schneider hat a save percentage of .921 in six more starts, playing in front of the same team. In fact, Brodeur has had a lousy .901 save percentage two years in a row, and hasn't reached over .908 in the last four seasons. Yikes.
Brodeur's numbers are even worse during even strength play.
Perhaps Brodeur's save percentage would increase a little bit playing on a better team, remember thought that the Penguins play a system that is completely different than the goalie-friendly system that Brodeur has played in during his years in New Jersey. So there is no proof that Brodeur's numbers would get any better. For those claiming that Brodeur can be served as Fleury's mentor, I'm sorry but that is just a silly reason to bring in a more costly and less productive backup. Fleury is a former number one overall pick and has been a full-time starter in the league for nine years. Fleury hired a new goalie coach, Mike Bales, last year and Fleury has been seeing a sports psychologist. Fleury doesn't need an aging former superstar goalie to hold his hand.
Also, consider the salary cap. Jeff Zatkoff wasn't great, but his numbers last year as a rookie were better than Brodeur's. Zatkoff is also only going to cost the Penguins $600,000 against the cap next season. Brodeur made $4.5 million last year and will most definitely ask for more than twice what Zatkoff is going to cost. Asking what Brodeur would want, remember that he wants to go to a contender and the possibilities seem very limited. It could end up like a Tomas Vokoun situation where he ends up having to take less money than he would originally had thought, even if that's the case the Penguins would be best to find someone else with better numbers that is younger, or just ride another year out with Zatkoff as the backup. Also consider that the Penguins only have $14.6 million in cap space and still need to sign four-five forwards and at least one defenseman.
If the Penguins are hellbent on getting a new backup goalie then Brodeur shouldn't even be one of their top five targets. Here's the save percentage leaders for all of the unrestricted free-agents from last year.
So far I am a fan of what the new front-office team has done, but if they are seriously interested in signing Brodeur, that would be a huge fail for them in my opinion. Brodeur's name and past success is the only reason why there would be any interest, and this is clearly a case of fans and a front-office looking at a name that is sexier than the actual player you're going to get. As fun as it would be to see Brodeur in a Penguins jersey, it would be three or four years too late. Pens, just say no to Brodeur.