By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor
Last night, Martin Brodeur returned to NHL action as a member of the St. Louis Blues and while the league’s all-time leader in wins and shutouts looked a bit rusty between the pipes, fans were excited to see him back on the ice. While facing the Nashville Predators in his new mask and sweater, he made 20 saves in a tight 4-3 loss.
This afternoon, Upper Deck revealed the future Hall of Famer will be featured on his first cards with the Blues in 2014-15 SPx Hockey. They will be a part of the regular base set and also the holographic tribute to their 1997-98 SPx set.
One of the most collectible goaltenders in the hobby, Brodeur has appeared in trading card sets since the 1990-91 season and appears on over 7,000 different cards in the Beckett.com database with a total value of over $177,000 (excluding rarities).
For the first time in his NHL career, the three-time Stanley Cup champion has suited up for a team other than the New Jersey Devils, who let him go to free agency over the summer. Expected to act as a mentor to prospect Jake Allen, who won the Baz Bastien Memorial Trophy with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves last season, his experience will come in handy on a squad that is hoping to be a serious contender come playoff time.
With a knee injury to starter Brian Elliott, the Blues were in need of an established netminder to step in and help them remain at the top of the Central Division. Brodeur received a tryout with the Blues last week and the 42-year-old looked strong enough in practice to warrant a one-year deal with the club.
Many other great goalies have spent the twilight years of their careers in a St. Louis uniform. Hall of Famers Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante were two of the franchise’s earliest stars and the Blues made the Stanley Cup Final during their first three years in the NHL. In the mid-1990s, Grant Fuhr staged an incredible comeback with the team and set a league record for most games played by a goaltender in a single season in 1995-96.
Will Brodeur have as much success with the team? Only time will tell, but collectors will be looking forward to the chance to pick up cards of him with his new team later this season.
Stephen Laroche is the editor of Beckett Hockey and Beckett Basketball magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at SLaroche@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Laroche.