Tonight, Martin Brodeur will make his last stop in Calgary as an NHLer at 7PM MT when his New Jersey Devils (0-1-3) take on the Flames (2-0-2).
The previous contest between the two underneath the Saddledome roof didn’t end well for Brodeur, as he allowed 3 goals on 4 shots en route to a pull 8 minutes into the first period. I thought that might’ve been the last time we saw Brodeur in Calgary, but then the Devils went to the Stanley Cup, and, well, now we’re here.
- Curtis Glencross – Ben Street – T.J. Galiardi
- Sven Baertschi – Sean Monahan – Lee Stempniak
- Lance Bouma – Mikael Backlund – Jiri Hudler
- Tim Jackman – Joe Colborne – Brian McGrattan
- Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
- Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
- Chris Butler – Shane O’Brien
- Joey MacDonald
Ben Street is basically the opposite of Blair Jones, apparently. Street has been fine, but unless Glencross has somehow regressed to a 4th liner Hartley is playing him over his head. We’ll see how long that group lasts. Jones will sit in the press box tonight in favour of Tim Jackman who is a.) playing his first game of the season tonight and b.) better than Brian McGrattan. (Jones shares the latter characteristic with Jackman.)
The Flames don’t exactly have a first line, per se, but it’s a little weird to see Glencross off of it. Switch him with Bouma, possibly? At least that way you’d have two second lines instead of… whatever that is called up there. At least all of the guys are legit NHLers, though – that’s a big part of the reason why I don’t think the Flames will be as bad as everyone thinks. Unlike Edmonton in 09, the entire bottom half of the veteran roster wasn’t in the AHL last year.
Bob Hartley continues to go with Joey MacDonald, even though Karri Ramo is sitting on the bench and there continues to be no legitimate reason to not play him. MacDonald has played in 3 games thus far and has an EVSV% that’s worse than replacement level, 1 quality start and 0 positional awareness. I just don’t get it.
Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie have been the defensive equivalent of the golden gun thus far, as they are destroying top competition by almost every available metric. At this point, the Flames have 3 legitimate top 3 defensemen and it’s hella fun to watch.
- Dainius Zubrus – Patrik Elias – Jaromir Jagr
- Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
- Rostislav Olesz – Travis Zajac – Damien Brunner
- Jacob Josefson – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
- Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
- Andy Greene – Adam Larsson
- Anton Volchenkov – Peter Harrold
- Martin Brodeur
The forward lineup, at first glance, might seem a wee bit thin. That’s not shocking, as New Jersey has lost two in-their-prime first line wingers in two years. However, there’s actually a lot of quality there, despite how old the team is. They might have trouble in the next couple of seasons but right now they’re still solid. I expect them to be a playoff contender.
The defense is the same way: veteran talent that has defied father time and a couple of young guys. Adam Larsson is basically following the exact same career path as his countrymate, Victor Hedman, has. Both underrated, both playing good comp and doing well and both having a surprising amount of offensive upside.
The Devils’ top line is 113 years old. To put that in perspective, that takes us back to 1900, when the Titanic was still 12 years away from being sunk and when CEO’s of companies were just starting to become the dictators they are today. Despite that, Elias and Jagr still remain effective #fancystats players and they’re not slouches in the counting department either.
Martin Brodeur’s recent struggles have been well-publicised, but his past effectiveness had given the Devils too much pause when it came to finding a replacement – until this summer. Cory Schneider may not play tonight, but he’s going to be a huge asset for the team in a year or two if they can keep it together. Brodeur, on the other hand, hasn’t really had a good season for 3 years now – but despite that he’s still one of the greatest of all time.
Sum It Up
The Devils, as a team, are pretty good at possessing the puck and controlling the pace of play on any given night. Unfortunately for them, the past few years they’ve also been marred by Martin Brodeur’s sub-par goaltending – much like the Flames in the late oughts and early tens.
Go Flames. Puck drop is at 7:07 on 960 AM and Sportsnet West.