ST. LOUIS – Martin Brodeur felt very comfortable skating onto the ice in his new St. Louis Blues equipment.
After 21 years playing for the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis was at the top of his list when he became a free agent.
"I think for me, looking at teams, it was the most similar what I'm used to, what I've played throughout my career in New Jersey," Brodeur said Friday. "It just happened a couple days ago. I'm definitely looking forward to this challenge and see where that's going to bring us."
Brodeur wasn't ready to call it a career at 42 after the Devils chose not to re-sign him. But he didn't get any offers until Blues general manager Doug Armstrong called Brodeur's agent on Tuesday after goalie Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury in the Blues' 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. Elliott is on injured-reserve and is week to week.
Brodeur, who leads the NHL in wins (688), games played (1,259), losses (394) and shutouts (124), took part in the morning skate Friday with the Blues, who will face the Edmonton Oilers.
"It was good. It was fun to get back out there for sure," Brodeur said. "It's been a while. It was a good tempo for me. I know it's only a morning skate ... can't wait to see Monday.
Armstrong made it clear there are no guarantees for the future Hall of Famer, though.
"He's going to practice with us for the better part of a week and then I would say we'll make a determination," Armstrong said. "He'll find out where he's at and we'll have a chance to work with him and make a decision on whether we'll move forward with a contract or not.
"(Brodeur) wants to play, and he's kept himself in good conditioning," Armstrong said. "He's been skating in New Jersey."
Brodeur has been skating with Scott Gomez, a former teammate looking for work. He's coming off a season in which he was 19-14-6 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .901 save percentage, low numbers by his career marks of 2.24 GAA and .912 save percentage.
"It was a tough year last year for me," Brodeur said. "I felt really good playing the games but didn't get really the chance to play the way I'm used to playing in New Jersey and rightfully so with Cory Schneider being there. They needed to put him in some games and lock him into a long-term contract. For me, it was important to get out of the way."
Brodeur should feel comfortable playing for coach Ken Hitchcock. They spent three Winter Olympics and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey together.
"He looks good," Hitchcock said. "We'll get a better test on Monday and Tuesday when we put him in a full practice. ... We'll see how he feels physically after we put him through the grind that you get in game-like situations."
If the Blues offer Brodeur a contract, he won't just be a mentor for young goalies Jake Allen, who will be the starter for the immediate future, and Jordan Binnington, who was recalled from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
"I don't need to lean on him," Hitchcock said of Brodeur. "I just need to play him. If he says I'm good to go, and we need games ... (Elliott) is going to be out, and if he says I can play, I'm putting him in ... bottom line."