Martin Brodeur sets July 1 deadline

LOS ANGELES -- New Jersey Devils veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur said he is planning on returning to play next season, but he set a July 1 deadline to make a firm decision.

"This season and this playoff run answered a lot of questions -- where my game is at -- and I'm really happy to hopefully continue," he said Monday after he team's season-ending 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Brodeur said he wants to take some time to decompress and think before fully committing to a comeback.

"Free agency," Brodeur answered when asked about his timeline. "I'm not saying I'm going to go after midnight, but for me that's the date. I'm going to take a little time off -- I'll be back in Jersey until late June -- and I'll figure it out then."

The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer was upbeat despite the team's blowout defeat in Los Angeles. Brodeur, a three-time Cup winner, seemed encouraged by the direction of the team and the level of play he was able to sustain during a deep playoff run.

"I feel real good. I was two games away (from) winning a Stanley Cup. A lot of clutch games I needed to play well and I did," he said. "I like the team in front of me and the system we play in -- that really helps my game as far as handling the puck and doing different things.

"This season kinds of put a little more jump in what I was trying to do and maybe try to continue a little bit more, but we'll see. I'm not sure yet."

Although he surrendered five goals to the Kings as they clinched their first Cup in franchise history, Brodeur had a renaissance in the Devils' resurgent season.

Despite the awards and recognition accrued throughout his illustrious 18-year career, Brodeur said he still felt like he needed that to prove to himself that he could play at an elite level.

"I want to be the best I can be. I think my expectations are higher -- probably not as high as (the media), but it's high," he said. "I want to be able to contribute and play at a certain level and play a lot of games and not take a seat."

Brodeur said his decision will not be linked to that of franchise winger and captain Zach Parise, who declined to discuss his future after the game.

However, he did say that re-signing the impending free agent should be the Devils' top priority moving forward.

"I think Zach is a big thing to the organization. They have to take care of that first. There's no doubt about that," Brodeur said. "They need to try to lock him in and lure him into staying."

Brodeur did not rule it out, but said it is unlikely he would consider signing anywhere else besides New Jersey, where he has played for his entire career. This season was the last of a six-year, $31.2 million deal that he inked in 2006.

"I don't see myself at all doing that," Brodeur said. "But again, I think circumstances is out of my hands. You never know, I guess. I don't want to. It definitely would have to be something really weird that I'm going to do that.

"The Devils is what I am, what I believe in and this is where I want to be."