NHL Free Agency 2014: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top Players Remaining on Market

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NHL Free Agency 2014: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top Players Remaining on Market
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Tomas Vokoun

The top names were scooped up quickly on the first day of NHL free agency, but there is still plenty of quality out there on the open market.

Most of the players left have some experience under their belts. Experience is valuable to NHL franchises, but it's not worth shelling out top dollar early on in the offseason. In the coming weeks, expect more and more veterans to find new homes.

Sometimes franchises can catch lightning in a bottle with older players. Veterans can be rejuvenated when playing for a new team, especially one with playoff aspirations. The teams that get the most bang for their buck are the ones that go far.

Most of the latest rumors have to do with such older players, and I'll break down the three most interesting ones below.

 

Martin Brodeur

Mel Evans/Associated Press

At 42 years old, Martin Brodeur likely only has one more season in him. Last year wasn't exactly pretty for the New Jersey Devils, as his save percentage of .901 led to Cory Schneider playing a good amount of time in between the pipes.

There's still a market for the netminder, however, as ESPN's Pierre LeBrun tweeted:

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins are good destinations for Brodeur, as they can offer him the chance to win and the opportunity to play every once in a while. No longer is Brodeur a full-time starter.

Don't count on the Devils re-signing their former superstar, as Schneider's presence and the signing of Scott Clemmensen make it highly unlikely:

Plenty of teams could take a chance on Brodeur on an inexpensive contract, and Chris Peter of CBS Sports wrote about a few more, citing a report by TVA Sports' Louis Jean:

According to Louis Jean of TVA Sports, goaltender Martin Brodeur's agent says the veteran is garnering interest from as many as six teams.

Jean reports the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are four of the six teams that have shown interest in Brodeur.

With plenty of suitors, it's really just a matter of time before one team stands out above the rest. Brodeur has accomplished a lot in the NHL, though, so signing quickly isn't important. He'll wait for the right deal in the right situation to ensure that he won't waste what will probably be his final season in the league on a losing team.

 

Dany Heatley

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Dany Heatley, 33, can still be an effective player on a second or third line. That said, Chad Graff of The Pioneer Press reports that the Minnesota Wild likely won't look to bring him back next season: 

Several players have said they interested [sic] in looking into offers from other teams. And the Wild have decided not to offer new contracts to several others.

Among the latter group is Dany Heatley. After three seasons with the Wild, his time in Minnesota is over.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger tweeted that Heatley would be willing to take a short-term deal, so teams in need for some scoring punch next season should look his way:

That said, he scored just 47 goals in three years for the Wild. During the latter portion of his time with the team, he served as a mentor for the players who inevitably began to take ice time away from the former 50-goal scorer.

A market will surely materialize for Heatley in the coming weeks, but it's unclear which teams will look his way.

There's still some quality left in his skates, but his true purpose at this point in his career is to mentor youngsters like he did last season with Minnesota. If he scores a few goals along the way, it'll be a major bonus.

 

Tomas Vokoun

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun didn't play last season, but he did post a 13-4-0 record in 2012-13 with the Penguins. The 38-year-old still holds value as a reserve netminder, and Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet reports that he could make his decision for next season very soon:

David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period confirmed that Vokoun could decide today:

Vokoun has 300 career wins between the pipes but hasn't really seen success since his time with the Florida Panthers. He was great while there, recording 23 shutouts in four seasons.

As is the case with Brodeur, Vokoun likely won't play a huge role on his new team. In all likelihood he'll see action when the No. 1 goalie needs a break. Look for him to play a leadership role in the locker room and possibly to a younger goalie on the roster.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to bring in Vokoun for those two purposes.

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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