I think we all know Brodeur doesn't want to be a backup. He's not wired for it, and frankly someone with that good a career shouldn't have to be 42 and a back up in the league. I find it almost impossible that he could come back to 15-20 games with it clearly defined that he will not be the starter at all.
Brodeur is hoping for a 2008 Red Wings Hasek situation. where you have a very solid team that doesn't have a clear answer in nets. Hasek was 43 and he was pretty much done, but there was always hope for him and concern with Wings management with Osgood in nets. Basically, he's hoping to be given a shot to win the net.
That simply can not happen in New Jersey. Marty knows it too. He said as much in a bunch of quotes. Ego and competition and wanting to play took over (pretty much why he wanted to be traded), but since he cares so much about this franchise, he knows that what he wants and what the franchise needs don't align at all. They didn't align last year, and it will be catastrophic this year.
For Brodeur, it has to be an opportunity with another team, or his career is over.
I just don't see where that will be.
Teams with DEFINITE starting goalies right now: NYR (Lundqvist), NJ (Schneider), Pittsburgh (Fleury), Columbus (Bobrovsky), Boston (Rask), Montreal (Price), Tampa (Bishop), Detroit (Howard), Florida (Luongo), Toronto (Bernier), Chicago (Crawford), Nashville (Rinne), Dallas (Lethonen), Colorado (Varlamov), Phoenix (Smith), San Jose (Niemi), LA (Quick)
So now we've winnowed things down considerably already - that's 17 teams off the list of teams that have a definite #1 guy right now.
Teams that think they have a starter: Winnipeg (Pavelec), Philadelphia (Mason), Calgary, maybe? (Rammo)
Cross 3 more off, probably - I would include Philadelphia as a place Brodeur might go, but I don't think he'll want to play there. Now we're at 9 teams left.
Teams with two guys: Ottawa (Anderson, Lehner), Edmonton (Scrivens, Fasth), Minnesota (Kuemper, Harding, Backstrom), Carolina (Ward, Khudobin), Anaheim (Andersen, Gibson)
Now we're at 5 teams: Buffalo, the Islanders, Washington, St. Louis, Vancouver. Buffalo has Neuvirth and Enroth, two young goalies, the Islanders already indicated their interest in Jaro Halak, the Blues have a UFA goalie they paid a lot for, and Vancouver has a young guy they like.
UFA Starting goalies (current team): Hiller (Anaheim), Halak (NYI), Miller (St. Louis), Nabokov (NYI)
I don't think Nabokov is a starter in the NHL anymore, so throw him off the list. Still, these 3 guys are going to end up somewhere, so that's 3 more teams off the list. That leaves 2 teams left for Brodeur to be an ostensible starter on, and that's if he can usurp a guy that's already there (exception to this: The Islanders). And he said he wanted to go somewhere he can win and somewhere that's warm. I could maybe see Anaheim signing him as a veteran guy if they've gone insane, but I think someone like Nabokov or Bryzgalov would be a better fit there - they could have one of the young guys in the NHL playing while the other young guy plays in the AHL, and if one is doing considerably better than the other, they could switch. I could see Phoenix maybe using him as a backup because why not, but again he'd be a backup. Unless the goalie UFA market shakes out real weird, like someone ends up going to the KHL or someone ends up hurt for the year in the off-season, I just don't see him landing anywhere where he even has a chance to be a 1A.