Would Martin Brodeur be a fit with the Jets? Is it Red Wings or bust for Daniel Alfredsson? Could Dustin Penner land in Winnipeg? Will someone take a chance on Ryan Malone? And much more on the remaining UFAs.
With the start of NHL training camp only three weeks away, several notable unrestricted free agents remain available.
Topping the list is goaltender Martin Brodeur. Earlier this month THN associate editor Matt Larkin suggested the Winnipeg Jets could make the most of Brodeur’s services. Larkin expects the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer could await an injury to open up a spot with an NHL club.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff seems content with his team’s tandem of Ondrej Pavelec and the inexperienced Michael Hutchinson. If the pair struggles in pre-season, however, the Jets could contact Brodeur. But they might not be the right fit for him, as it’s believed he prefers signing with a playoff contender.
Earlier this month the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe proposed left winger Dustin Penner as a potential replacement for the departed Devin Setoguchi, who recently signed with the Calgary Flames. Wiebe also reported the Jets offered gritty Jordin Tootoo a one-year, two-way deal, but the winger rejected the deal.
So far there’s no indication Cheveldayoff will add Penner or anyone else to his lineup. The always-cautious GM could wait for training camp to evaluate his needs and how to address them.
Speaking of Tootoo, don’t expect the Nashville Predators to bring him back. While Tootoo was popular among Predators fans during his years in Nashville, The Tennessean’s Josh Cooper reports the club doesn’t appear interested in the winger.
There’s no uncertainty over Daniel Alfredsson’s plans. MLive’s Ansar Khan reports the 41-year-old right wing will either return with the Detroit Red Wings or retire. Alfredsson was hampered by a bad back last season. His return depends upon how he feels leading up to training camp.
Former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Malone has put his off-ice legal issues behind him and hopes to continue his NHL career. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports Malone looked good during pre-training camp skates earlier this month. Russo believes a team could sign him or invite him to training camp for a tryout, claiming the New York Rangers had talked to Malone.
Another player who might need a training-camp tryout to prove himself is Ville Leino. Bought out by the Buffalo in June, Leino garnered a reputation for indifferent play during his tenure with the Sabres.
Earlier this summer, Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshynski reported Leino’s agent claimed he was having “good talks” with “multiple teams” regarding his client. Evidently those discussions came to naught.
Former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen’s future remains uncertain. He missed all of last season to a broken heel. NBC Sports’ Mike Halford cited a report from Finland earlier this month in which Pitkanen said he remains a long way from returning to action.
Other notables still available include goaltenders Tim Thomas, Tomas Vokoun and Ilya Bryzgalov, defensemen Ed Jovanovski, Sami Salo and Derek Morris and forwards Ray Whitney, Saku Koivu and Todd Bertuzzi. Age, declining performance and/or injury history explains why most of them remain unsigned.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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