Brodeur's sons carrying on family tradition with Devils
NEWARK, N.J. -- It was a surreal scene watching three talented prospects named "Brodeur" doing their best to make their father proud this week during New Jersey Devils development camp here at AmeriHealth Pavilion.
At a time when the future of franchise icon and unrestricted free agent goalie Martin Brodeur remains uncertain, there were his sons, Anthony, Jeremy and William Brodeur, on the ice looking to earn the respect of coaches and teammates just as their father did almost a quarter-century ago.
The sight of three Brodeur teens certainly was unusual for Devils coach Peter DeBoer.
"It's amazing to have three kids at an NHL camp," DeBoer said. "You see them, talk to them and realize they are great kids. They are well raised."
Anthony and Jeremy are goalies, while William is a forward.
At 19, Anthony is the oldest of the trio. He was chosen in the seventh round (No. 208) by the Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft. The memorable selection was made on the floor of Prudential Center by Martin Brodeur.
In 30 games with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, he went 13-10-2 with two shutouts, a 2.90 goals-against average and .887 save percentage in 30 games. He also established a team record, and the fourth-longest in league history, with a 194:28 shutout streak from Dec. 29 to Jan. 10.
Still, it wasn't the type of season he envisioned statistically despite the fact he was a rookie playing behind incumbent starter Robert Steeves.
"It was a great learning experience and I thought I played well for the circumstances I was put under," Anthony said. "I expect a better season [in 2014-15] since the expectation is I'll be the No. 1 goalie."
Does that unwavering confidence sound familiar?
In addition to their looks, all three Brodeurs have that same calm and carefree demeanor as their father. They seem to enjoy the attention, will say what's on their mind and never conclude a media scrum until the final question is asked.
Anthony attended New Jersey's developmental camp last summer as well, so Jeremy and William made it a point to learn as much as they could prior to their initial participation.
"Jeremy wanted to know who had the hardest shot and William wanted to know the biggest guy on the ice," Anthony said.
Anthony is a mirror image of his father between the pipes. He usually rests both elbows over the crossbar while he awaits a face-off and has that uncanny knack for quickly getting back on his skates after making a stop in butterfly.
Twins Jeremy and William, both 17, starred last season for prep school powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minn. Jeremy will play for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League this season.
"I think I read plays well, have good hand-eye coordination, but sometimes have trouble moving around side to side," Jeremy said. "I think I'm less similar than dad since I stay in butterfly more often. Anthony stays more on his feet. I did whatever worked for me and stuck with what was always successful."
Jeremy said he receives much of his technical goaltending advice from Anthony, while he uses his father for help with the mental side of the game.
"It was hard adjusting to shots during the camp because of how quick they're coming in," Jeremy said. "It's a faster pace. It's a hard pace but it's hockey and it's the next level. The challenge is good for me since I'm heading to Oshawa and a lot of these players in camp play in those leagues so I need to know what it's like."
Jeremy went 22-4-0 with four shutouts, a 2.18 GAA and .916 save percentage in 26 games for Shattuck's top under-18 team.
William will play one more season at Shattuck, where he had 10 goals and 32 points in 46 games with the school's midget-AAA team. Jeremy and William are eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.
As the only hockey-playing non-goalie in the family, why did William decide to play forward?
"It just never came to me; Jeremy was playing goal so someone had to shoot on him," William said.
Though wearing the same jersey and skating for the same organization as their father did for 21 seasons was a neat experience, the Brodeur brothers said it isn't as big a deal as some make it out to be. After all, it's just hockey.
"The more experience we can get the better; it is what you get out of it," Anthony said. "You want to get to this level with the pros and hopefully be successful. No matter what jersey you wear, it is still hockey and we love playing it."