On the eve of the ceremony, current Devils goaltender Cory Schneider reflected on the trade that brought him to New Jersey and what it was like to work with Brodeur. On June 30, 2013, the Devils acquired Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a first-round pick (used to pick Bo Horvat) in that year's draft.
The deal caught many by surprise, including Schneider, who admitted he didn't know too much about the Devils organization. He didn't know what Brodeur's contract situation was, and Schneider said he didn't know how old Brodeur was or what his record was at the time.
"I was very surprised," Schneider said. "I wasn't expecting that at all and had no inclination that was going to happen, but the first thing that popped into my head was Marty. It was like, 'Wow. Marty Brodeur's there and he's been there forever and this has been his team. I've got to figure out a way to come in and treat the situation with a lot of respect, treat him with a lot of respect and go from there.'"
During his career with the Canucks, Schneider served as a backup to Roberto Luongo, and it was that experience that helped Schneider understand how a goaltender tandem with Brodeur would work in New Jersey.
"I learned a lot about dealing with a friendship and a professional relationship all at once," Schneider said. "[Luongo] made it very easy on me. From what I've heard, it could have been a lot dicier, in terms of how he treated me and how I was looked upon. He couldn't have been more respectful and supportive of my role and where I was going in my career and where he wanted to be."
Not that Schneider is trying to replace Brodeur, but it has been a challenge to follow in the future Hall of Famer's skate strides.
When asked what he's most proud of so far in his Devils career, Schneider said: "Hopefully there's a lot more to be proud of that hasn't happened yet, but I'd like to think that when that trade happened, people may have been upset, or maybe they didn't know why it was made and didn't know anything about me, but I'd like to think at this point hopefully I've done enough to show people that I'm committed to this team and what I can do and how badly I want to win and compete.
"We haven't gotten to where we want to be, and I haven't done anything personally, so in that sense I'm not proud in that regard. I'm just trying to demonstrate to the fans and ownership they made a good move and that they can believe in me."
Here's a brief Q&A with Schneider:
Joe McDonald: First of all, being a Boston guy and a fan of the New England Patriots, what was it like to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday without Tom Brady playing?
Cory Schneider: Incredibly boring. Boring, boring. Hey, whether you love him or hate him, it's always exciting when the Patriots are involved, and maybe we should petition to have them in it every year. As a Pats fan it's tough to see the Broncos win because they've kind of become a rival.
McDonald: What has your experience replacing Brodeur been like in New Jersey?
Schneider: It's been an interesting experience. It's been a challenge. I'm just amazed at Devils fans and how much they adored him. Not being in this area, you don't really see it at the fan level. You obviously see how popular he was in the league and how great a goalie he was and then you get to New Jersey. People come up to me and say: 'I'm a Marty Brodeur fan.' It's not, 'I'm a Devils fan.' They kind of say that second. It obviously shows what he meant to that fan base and how much he did for them.
It's not surprising the amount of support and the outpouring of love and excitement the fans have now and I think they're enjoying everything. For me, I've never really set out to fill his shoes. I've just tried to be myself and be my own goalie and obviously carry on the things he did for the Devils, the reputation he left the team with and the string of success he left the team with, I'd like to pick that up and continue that hopefully this year, if not soon. It's a big thing to be the next guy in line.
McDonald: Marty was known for his workload and you've carried on that tradition. What has that workload been like for you?
Schneider: It's been good. I think I've felt better than I even did last year, in terms of energy levels and staying sharp and feeling good about my game. Any season you're going to have some valleys and some peaks, and I'm trying to keep that high level going. I'm sure there's going to be a stretch here, maybe even down the stretch where I'm going to have a couple of bad games in a row, but I learned from Marty that it doesn't matter what happened the last shot, the last period, the last game, whatever happened you move on and worry about the next one and you have the same amount of confidence you always do.
Again, I think I did learn a lot [from Brodeur] and the key for him was staying healthy, knock on wood, but you've got to be on the ice to do all the things that he did. Some people take that for granted, but you look around the league, little things happen to guys, whether it's an accident or just how you take care of yourself, but a big part of that is just staying on the ice and being present and being at every game.
McDonald: What would you like to see from the team down the stretch?
Schneider: Well, we've gotten this far and everyone sort of waited for us to peter out and fall off and just sort of fade away. In the room, we've just made it a point to say, 'Yeah, we're not going away. We're going to keep fighting. We're going to be in the mix and we're going to get into the playoffs.' We're at that point now. This is for real. This is no fluke.
We're at 55 games and that belief is filtering through the room and guys realize what we can accomplish here after everyone predicted us to do this year. We've had a chip on our shoulder all year a little bit, but that doesn't change. Every team is driving now and every team is playing with a little more emotion and that kind of gets evened out down the stretch. We've got to find a way to find that extra gear and keep winning games.