I know you tend to look at these things from a very forensic POV, re: Brodeur, but you have to stop making it sound like Brodeur has been consistently below average for the entire balance of the past three seasons. What he's been is inconsistent, with the lows being painful-to-watch bad. He was fine over the second half of 2010-11, and I've repeatedly pointed out the 50-game-or-so stretch of .920 save% play he provided all the way through the end of the 2012 playoffs. He wasn't very good for much of last year's shortened season, and the backup was actually worse, and Brodeur also missed time to injury to boot. This season has been a microcosm of the last three (inconsistency), and I definitely don't expect his play to get much better than what we've seen, which means the #1 job will be Schneider's to lose soon enough, IF he can stay healthy and IF he can put together a nice stretch that forces DeBoer's hand. But it has NOT been three years of constant suckage.
When you say the Devils have dealt with it about as badly as you can manage, what should they have done differently?
I basically agree with this. Two years ago, the team tallied 102 points and made it to the SCF. That doesn't happen if your goaltending is a black hole. 2010-11 was an anomoly that didn't have much to do with the goaltending, or at least it was a lot more than that. You could basically say the same thing about last year. During that time, and right now, Marty's contract hasn't been an albatross.
And if you want to read the tea leaves, and other speculation/rumors that have been thrown around, Lou has been trying for the past couple of years to find Marty's replacement, if you want to believe that he was inquiring into Schneider years ago and that he kept the 29th pick with the hope of getting Vasilevsky or Subban.
If you don't take the save percentage to cap hit ratio uber alles, Lou has actually handled the goal tending situation pretty masterfully. A much worse GM, would have thrown a ton of money at a guy like Bryzgolov when you had adequate, but perhaps overpriced goaltending. Lou bided his time, more or less up point when the team couldn't win, and landed one of the best goalies in the league. I don't know what else you could hope for.