Replacing a Legend: Who Will Take Over for Martin Brodeur in New Jersey’s Crease?
By Kristin Tullo (@KToools)
After spending the last five seasons with the Albany Devils, Jeff Frazee may be approaching what could be the most important season of his career. The 2005 draft pick has one year left on his contract and three younger goalies nipping at his heels, while Martin Brodeur prepares to end his NHL career and pass the crease that for so long belonged to him, to someone else.
With Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg both signing two year extensions over the summer, the timeline of when the Devils would need to find the replacement for future Hall of Fame goaltender, Martin Brodeur, was finally made clear. For Jeff Frazee though, the timing couldn’t have come at a worse time, as he prepares to become a RFA next summer, giving him only one more chance between the pipes to prove to Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils that he is the right guy for the job.
Frazee isn’t the only one looking to prove himself though, along with him are Devils prospects Keith Kinkaid, Maxime Clermont and Scott Wedgewood. Like Frazee, Kinkaid will also be looking for an offer sheet at the end of the year, as he enters the last year in his entry level contract which he signed after his second year at Union College. The undrafted goalie from Farmingdale, NY has been the recipient of many awards, including the Ken Dryden award for the league’s top goalie in 2010-2011 and shared the duties in Albany with Frazee last season.
Unless the Devils trade for a goalie over the next two seasons or sign one in the off season, it is more than likely that two of these prospects will find themselves in the NHL within a couple of years. The question just remains who will it be? If drafting two goalies before signing another is any indication of Frazee’s readiness, it does not appear that the 25 year old goalie is the direction the Devils intend to go in. After all, it was Kinkaid who the Devils recalled early last season after Brodeur sustained an injury which prevented him from dressing and it was Kinkaid that was given the larger load in Albany. With three days to go before Albany meets up with the Manchester Monarchs to start the season, this may be Jeff Frazee’s last shot to become more than a career AHL goaltender.
Albany goaltending stats 2011-2012:
Frazee: 12-19-2 2.67 GAA 9.06 SV%
Kinkaid: 17-20-3 2.94 GAA 9.04 SV%
Frazee allowed four goals on 28 SOG in two periods against the Binghamton Senators after a ten save shutout in his previous game against the Connecticut Whale. In Kinkaid’s last two games he has made 23 saves on 25 shots.