Martin Brodeur is soaking it all in from the ground floor on up. The NHL's all-time winningest goalie is beginning his life in hockey management by trying to peek into all the nooks and crannies of the operation.
So when the St. Louis Blues left for Calgary on Monday to begin a road trip, Brodeur stayed behind.
"I'm trying to touch as much as possible, little details about the organization," the new assistant general manager of the Blues said Monday over the phone from St. Louis. "Like right now, I have to go to Florida and I'm meeting the analytics guy, he's going to walk me through everything, how he does his thing."
From there, Brodeur will also go meet with a couple of the team's prospects -- one in college and one in the Canadian junior leagues -- before joining back up with the Blues in Montreal for their Oct. 20 game.
"So some scouting, some different things, it's been fun. Everyone with the Blues has been very helpful," Brodeur said of his apprenticeship.
If it sounds familiar, it should. Just like Steve Yzerman went to Red Wings University after his Hall of Fame playing career ended, becoming a sponge in Ken Holland's front office for three years before feeling ready to becoming a GM in Tampa, Brodeur has similar plans for his time in St. Louis: learn, learn, learn.
"Yes, I would say that's the model that we're trying to use," said Blues GM Doug Armstrong of the Yzerman comparison. "Marty made a commitment, he moved to St. Louis. You don't make those commitments if you're not totally vested. He's giving us no indication that he doesn't want to learn and go about it in that fashion."
Brodeur and his second wife and their five-year-old moved from New Jersey to St. Louis this summer. The first step on this path was having an understanding partner who was ready to see him commit so much time and energy in his new career after all those years on the road as a player.
"I told my wife, 'At any time you think this is too much ...,' because she's definitely paying the price as far as me being on the road and everything, and she said, 'No, it makes you happy.' So I've got great support on that side," said Brodeur.
He has jumped in feet-first, but with his eyes wide open about what it takes to cut it in an NHL front office.
"It's hard when you leave the game just to say, 'This is what I want to do,"' said Brodeur. "Everybody has that thought, but when you jump in, you realize there's a lot more to it. The best way is just to experience it and put the time in. That's what I've done so far, and I'll be doing that for a while."
It's a steep learning curve to getting the hang of management. Many a former star player have tried their hand at it and realized the hours were too long, the commitment too encompassing. But Armstrong likes what he's seen so far from Brodeur.
"From Traverse City [prospects tournament] on, he's really gravitated towards wanting to learn all the different aspects, which is exactly what we wanted," said the Blues GM.
"He's just starting. He certainly has the capabilities, the work ethic and the knowledge," added Armstrong. "It's about wanting to put in the time. A guy like Steve Yzerman loves it, other guys that have been in it don't want to commit that much time after they've committed so much time to playing. To me, Marty is going about it the correct way, he's getting in on the ground floor."
The plan for this season is for Brodeur to get a view of all aspects of the operation, including player development, amateur scouting, the minor league affiliates, pro scouting, and travelling with the guys in different departments.
"He's going to get to get a feel for what everybody's responsibilities are," said Armstrong. "You don't have to be an expert, you just have to have an understanding. It's a credit to him, he's ready to start at a level where he can learn all that, not at a 30,000-feet level where you don't get an understanding of what people do."
Brodeur has already discovered one part of the operation that interests him more than he would have guessed.
"The amateur side, that's something I never thought I would be interested in, but it's actually pretty neat, just seeing our young guys go and seeing the new talent out there," said Brodeur. "So I'm trying to touch as much as I can so I can learn."
Brodeur got his feet wet late last season when he signed with the Blues, then hung up his skates and stayed on as a consultant of sorts. It gave him the bug. Then Armstrong brought him on for real in the offseason as assistant GM. The idea that Brodeur could have management potential was first planted in Armstrong's head back at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, when Armstrong was part of Yzerman's management staff.
"I would say it probably started in Vancouver, just from a distance, observing how Marty started as the No. 1 goalie, then Louie [Roberto Luongo] came in and played really well -- how Marty handled that with class and with great professionalism," said Armstrong. "It gives you a window into the character of the man."
All of which leads to one question: Does Brodeur fancy himself an NHL GM one day? It's still too early to answer that with confidence, but yes, if his apprenticeship goes well, it's a possibility.
"Yeah, you want to learn as much as possible. There's a process before getting a job like that, that people can trust you with the work. It's lot different than having a fantasy lineup," chuckled Brodeur. "There's a lot more to it, obviously. But it's really interesting. I'm fortunate, Army is really good to me. The experience has been really good so far."