Former New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur remains available in this summer's unrestricted free agent market. The Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti recently reported Brodeur spoke with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay about their backup jobs, but both clubs went with other options.
Gulitti also reports Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan confirmed on June 28 his club expressed interest in the future Hall of Famer as a backup for Jonathan Bernier, but said at Brodeur's age (42) “it's really about fit”. The Leafs still hold the rights to James Reimer, who has an arbitration hearing slated for July 28 unless he and the Leafs reach an agreement on a new contract.
It's possible the Leafs could walk away from an arbiter-awarded contract for Reimer and then sign Brodeur. They could also accept the award, try to trade the 26-year-old and then sign Brodeur. Then again, they could simply retain Reimer for another season and pass on Brodeur altogether.
Brodeur's agent told Gulitti his client was prepared to wait until after the season starts if necessary to find the right fit. Given how flat the market is for goaltenders, Brodeur might not have much choice.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks recently dismissed the notion of the Rangers trading Rick Nash this summer. Brooks claims Nash still has a full no-movement clause through the end of 2014-15, which the Rangers have no intention of asking him to waive, nor is the winger volunteering to do so.
Despite Nash scoring only four goals in 37 playoff games with the Rangers, Brooks points out the 30-year-old winger led the Blueshirts in regular season goal scoring over the past two years (47 in 109 games, which is a 35-goal pace over an 82-game season).
Even if the Rangers wanted to move Nash, his no-move clause would significantly limit potential trade destinations. So would his contract, which has four years at an eye-popping annual cap hit of $7.8 million. They would probably face having to pick up part of it to facilitate a trade.
Former New York Rangers and Nashville Predators defenseman Michael Del Zotto remains available. Only 24 and coming off a two-year deal worth $2.55 million, Del Zotto is the youngest of the notable players in this summer's unrestricted free-agent market.
Only two years removed from a 41-point season, Del Zotto's struggles last season with the Rangers and Predators has hurt his free-agent value. The Denver Post's Adrian Dater, responding to a reader's question about the Avalanche possibly pursuing Del Zotto, claimed the young defenseman is seen as “a bad defender”, too weak in his own zone to warrant a big contract anymore.
Sportsnet's Luke Fox reports Del Zotto admits this month is the lowest point thus far of his NHL career, but remains motivated to overcome this setback, claiming this summer is the hardest he's ever worked. He also said he's spoken with “a bunch of teams” but won't say which ones or how many.
His defensive issues aside, Del Zotto could interest teams seeking offense from the blueline. He might be forced, however, to seek a training camp tryout in order to prove himself as a worthwhile NHL defenseman.
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.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.