30 best NHL players of the 21st century: 7. Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur might be the most controversial player to rank in the NHL. Some say all of his accomplishments are thanks to the trap system and playing behind a defense with Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens, and Ken Daneyko. Others say he is undoubtedly the best goaltender in history. No matter who says what, it’s hard to argue he wasn’t the best goalie of this era when he was at his peak.
Brodeur won four Vezina Trophies after the turn of the millennium. Two of those trophies came post-lockout when Stevens and Daneyko were retired, and Niedermayer was playing with the Ducks. He was still incredible after the Devils lost out on one of the best defensive units of all time.
Brodeur was able to carry a Devils team in transition and still make them Cup contenders going into every season. From 2000 to 2008, he led the league in wins six times (out of seven possible seasons). As much as some people would claim, he wasn’t all about quantity over quality. He led the league twice in goals saved above average after the year 2000. Once was his awesome 2006-07 season when he put up a .922 save percentage despite playing 78 games. He didn’t put up many stinkers and actually had a career-high 12 shutouts.
Brodeur holds just about every accumulation record in the book. He has the most wins, most shutouts, minutes played, and he has the second-best goalie point shared in history. Even the biggest detractors of Brodeur have to say he was a top-ten player at his peak. He was one of the most athletic players to ever play the position, and the NHL literally had to make the trapezoid to try and stop him.