Opponent’s scouting report: Martin Brodeur

May 13, 2012, by

Marty, Marty Marty….our old nemesis.  We’ve been at this a long time.  Ever since you were kind enough to give us MATTEAU! MATTEAU!, back in the ’94 playoffs.  Marty Brodeur has had an unbelievable career and added plenty of fire and arrogant attitude to the rivalry the past 18 years or so.  He holds many of the NHL’s goaltending records and is a sure fire first-ballot Hall of Famer.  But let’s get under the hood of his style, even if he is not quite the force that he used to be.  Same breakdown as always, general style, strengths, weaknesses, and how the Rangers should approach the matchup.

General style

Marty is a artifact from a bygone era at this point.  He started his illustrious career in the early 90’s and has diligently sheltered himself from evolutions of the position.  It was only in the past couple years that he embraced new skates, a chest protector he didn’t wear in junior hockey, and wearing his pads a little looser.  He plays by far the most old school style in hockey, relying on certain super-human skills (we’ll get to those momentarily) to keep his game relevant.

Marty also possesses an attitude a little too big for New Jersey itself.  He is never afraid to vocally engage his opponents, the referees, or the league for that matter.  His outspoken and aloof nature has drawn the ire of Rangers fans for years, and that attitude is a big part of his ability to intimidate opponents on the ice. 


I was going back and forth between Marty’s biggest strengths as I was prepping this post, and there are really three big ones.  His puck handling immediately comes to mind, but to me that’s the least important.  I feel that his biggest strength by far is his other-worldly understanding of where he is relative to the net at all times.  Modern goalies play a systematic style where the location of the net behind you is one of your primary concerns.  This is where so many old school goalies faltered as the game got faster and more angular.  Marty can still play that “fly by the seat of his pants” kind of reaction game, but his ability to find his way home has given him longevity that none of his 1990’s contemporaries could replicate in the new NHL.

Brodeur’s other major advantage is his skating and balance.  We have discussed other strong skaters through this series so far, but if you have been watching Marty long enough, it almost seems like he walks on his skates.  They are a part of him that does not limit his mobility in any way.

Obviously another big time skill Marty possesses is his ability to handle the puck.  He is still the best in the game at it, owner of two legit NHL goals.  Unfortunately for him, the trapezoid had severely limited his impact in this department, but something to be mindful of regardless.


As father time marches on for Brodeur, his style itself becomes his biggest weakness.  The modern goaltending paradigm is based around efficiency of space and movement.  The more surface area you can inherently cover and the most amount of net you can eclipse with the smallest amount of movement are the goals.  Marty doesn’t really subscribe to either of these theories, but continues to play his signature reaction-based style.  This opens up a ton of holes that you won’t find on more modern tenders, especially on morale-killing locations like wrap-arounds and other scramble plays.

Because Marty does not block the puck particularly well, lateral plays can expose him as well.  Brodeur will still utilize the always fun double-pad stack to cover these types of plays, but rebounds become a big problem.  He does a great job at absorbing the puck when he can, but low shots and lateral passes both create a lot of headaches for MB30.

How the Rangers should approach the matchup

Pucks to the net.  That simple.  Obviously the Devils play a variation of the neutral zone trap (check out Suit’s fantastic explanation of the evolution of the trap here).  They generally try and keep the exposure to Marty’s game to a minimum and he still possesses fantastic reflexes and instincts, so you need to maximize the probability that a weakness in his game will yield results.  Because his equipment is considered undersized for the current NHL, he is more susceptible to deflections than other goalies as well.

Driving the net is going to be a major component of the plan of attack as well.  Because Marty can be kind of a rebound factory, its incredibly important to make sure someone is waiting at the door step.  And because his style often finds himself out of position for second and third saves, that door step presence becomes all the more important.

Marty has not been a huge playoff performer since the Devils last won the Cup back in 2003, but he is the most decorated goalie of all time, and still could be plenty dangerous this spring.

When the puck drops between the Rangers and Devils on Monday night, we’ll see how much Marty has left in the tank.


Categories : Analysis


  1. Walt says:

    Marty is good, not great, and is beatable!

    The key as mentioned is he gives up way too many rebounds. The Rangers, if they meet the Devils in the play-offs, have got to crash the nets. If they can do that, we win, and big. Even Dubi, and his ever present wrap around attempts, might get lucky here.

    Playing the trap over the years worked well for the Devils, with guys like Stevens, Daneyko, White, Martin, etc., they could get away with it. This current defense isn’t as skilled, or tough as that group, and can also be exploited. The forwards are skilled, and can sneak up on you rather quickly. Look Parise, Kovy, Elias, Sykora, and even that dirt bag Clarkson, can score, so we have to be tight defensivly against this team. This could be a rather tough series, or a push over, depending on Marty’s ability to carry the team. Let’s face it, we got the King, they have fat boy, who should win this contest?????

    • Mikeyyy says:

      You must be crazy . While a debbie, let that not detract from his awesomeness. He is one of the greatest goalies of the modern era of hockey.

      He is great….just admit it.

      • Justin says:

        I think you are actually both right. Walt, your right in that at this point in his career, he is a good, but not great goaltender. Mikeyyy, you are correct in that he is historically great and is absolutely in the conversation for greatest goalie of all time.

      • Walt says:

        He was great, but father time is catching up to fat boy!!!!!

        I know, it caught up to me a long time ago!!

  2. Dave says:

    Brodeur is one of the best ever. But I have noticed a lot more rebounds in the past few years.

    Still can’t stand how much he flops though.

    • Walt says:

      With the defense he had for many years, and the system they played, sure Fat Boy looked good. Is he one of the best, I think not!

  3. wwpd says:

    being a fatso – strength or weakness? i think you could play it both ways …

  4. Tim says:

    Any chance Dubinsky or Zucc could return for this series?

    • Chuck A. says:

      Curious about Dubinsky,too…

    • JB says:

      I would love for zucc to return, especially for PP, I’m just not sure who to sit…

      • Tim says:

        i agree. Mitchell has been great. Im pretty sure it will be Rupp. The problem is that Rupp is a good scorer when he gets a good amount of ice time. The winter classic, scored twice. He gets paid like $4 million and plays less than 5 minutes a game??? If this continues than he could be traded or play for CT Whale and show those guys how to fight. Next year the rangers will have cally, richie, AA, Stepan, gabby, boyle, prust, kreider (unless traded for nash) maybe feds, mitchell, dubi and zucc. If they resign zucc and dubi returns to self form than they are set for a few years just on offense.

        • Rickyrants13 says:

          Number 20 is going nowhere…

          • JB says:

            Mitchell’s been good as of late and Rupp might be needed, although not for his scoring abilities…
            Zucc probably wont sign another 2way and I doubt they’ll offer him a 1way, but we’ll see. They’re pretty set anyway

  5. Matt says:

    Call up Avery for the series!

    As mentioned, the biggest thing will be to get…and stay…in front of the net to stuff in rebounds.

    As shown in the Florida series, he can be prone to giving up a few goals, even if the Rangers are down.

    Now the question will be if the Rangers can capitalize.

  6. Steven T says:

    MAAAAAAR-TY!!! Can’t wait to watch the Rangers against him again. So excited for this series

  7. rob sahm says:

    its time to end one legend and start a new one go get em hank go rangers

  8. Matt J says:

    Great post.

    To be honest though I think Bryzgalov looks more old school than Brodeur. Bryzgalov is about as stand up style as you could get and reminds me of a lot of goalies from the 70’s and 80’s. While Brodeur is a carbon copy of Roy but a little more aggressive, and plays the puck like Ron Hextall. A pretty good combo for a goalie.

  9. Jeff P says:

    Rangers strengths do not play to Marty’s weaknesses. Rangers generate chances from behind the net (sometimes all three forwards are there) and on the rush. Neither style is conducive to rebounds, or if there are, not too many players go to the net.