20th Anniversary of the 1993-94 NHL Expansion Draft
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06-30-2013, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Originally Posted by
They were bringing Dunham into games where the Devils were winning just to get him to the threshold. They split one or two shutouts.
Article from 2009 called "Only thing standing between Brodeur and shutout record: Mike Dunham."
New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur could have been crowned the NHL shutout king Monday instead of tying Terry Sawchuk's record of 103.
But he was denied a shot at a shutout in the 1996-97 season when backup Mike Dunham was inserted in a Nov. 9, 1996, game for 41 seconds in the third period of a 4-0 win against the New York Islanders. Brodeur had taken a shot off the shoulder before the coaching staff made the move. He has shut out the Islanders 10 times in his career.
Dunham needed to make 25 appearances that season or he would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He appeared in 26 games, but a handful were less than a minute, including one of three seconds.
The Devils held onto Dunham's rights and withstood a players association grievance.
Shared shutouts don't count toward a goaltender's personal statistics, so Brodeur didn't get credit. At the time, he expressed disappointment, saying he didn't ask to be pulled.
From a preview of the 1997-98 season:
Goaltending was the source of quite a bit of controversy last season in New Jersey. Backup Mike Dunham needed to play in 25 games in order to remain a restricted free agent after the season, otherwise he'd be free to sign with the highest bidder. So in order to get Dunham his required minimum of appearances, coach Jacques Lemaire often pulled Martin Brodeur late in games just so Dunham could mop up the final few seconds. This practice didn't go over well with either netminder, especially after Lemaire yanked Brodeur in the final seconds of a shutout just to weasel Dunham into one more game.
That move cost Brodeur what would have been his 11th shutout of the season and put a severe strain on his relationship with the coach. Dunham wasn't real happy either and filed a grievance with the league following the season, requesting that he be made an unrestricted free agent on the grounds that the Devils didn't act in good faith. However, the league arbitrator sided with the Devils and Dunham remains their property. They still have yet to sign him to a new contract, tho'. And considering how he was treated, Dunham may not be too eager to sign on the dotted line.
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