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NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz for League's Best Remaining Free Agents

Mar 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (30) during game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Devils defeated the Flyers, 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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David DanielsSenior Writer IJuly 5, 2014

While most of the NHL's top free agents have been signed, rumors continue to surround the select few who remain.

Entering the fifth day of the league's free agency, here are the latest rumblings for the best unsigned talent on the open market.

 

Apr 13, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (30) is honored by fans after his 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

The 42-year-old Brodeur has spent his entire NHL career, which began in 1991, with the Devils. But after leading them to three Stanley Cup Championships, their working relationship seems to be officially over.

Brodeur had backed up Cory Schneider this past season, but instead of re-signing Brodeur this summer, New Jersey opted to sign Scott Clemmensen to fill the reserve role.

The Devils aren't the only team to pass on the future Hall of Famer. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported that his representatives talked to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins. However, Pittsburgh decided to sign Thomas Greiss and Tampa Bay went for Evgeni Nabokov instead:

Brodeur has struggled to find a home this offseason. But despite his age, he still has the ability to be a valuable contributor—and not just in the locker room. His 19 wins this season were 26th-best in the NHL, and his 2.51 goals against average and .901 save percentage are without a doubt still second-string worthy.

According to Dan Rosen of NHL.com, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are the most likely landing spots for Brodeur. Of course, Joe McDonald of ESPN reported otherwise on the Boston front.

That leaves Toronto as Brodeur's top option right now. Tom Gulitti of The Record reported that the Maple Leafs' president of hockey operations, Brendan Shanahan, said, "Why wouldn't there be interest in him?" this summer.

 

Apr 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues center Steve Ott (29) skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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C/LW Steve Ott, St. Louis Blues

The Minnesota Wild already made a major splash this offseason by signing one of the top free agents, Thomas Vanek, and they may not be finished recruiting. LeBrun reported that the Wild are interested in Ott (h/t Star Tribune), who scored 23 points last season playing for the Blues and Buffalo Sabres.

Michael Russo of the Star Tribune believes Ott would fill a hole in Minnesota that doesn't show up on the stat sheet, though.

The Wild does lack toughness in my opinion (especially defensively), and when I say toughness, I’m not necessarily talking fighting. I just mean physicality, clearing bodies from the net … and some scare factor. There are times Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon have been targeted. Heck, Nik Backstrom’s health really began to derail last season after Nazem Kadri ran him AFTER running Granlund in the same game.

Russo reported that the Maple Leafs are interested in Ott as well. Bill Hoppe of the Times Herald also reported thatdespite signing Brian Gionta, Cody McCormick, Andrej Meszaros and Matt Moulson on the first day of free agencyBuffalo general manager Tim Murray "wouldn't rule out" an Ott return.

 

Dec 29, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues center Derek Roy (12) watches from the bench during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blues defeated the Stars 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sp
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C Derek Roy, St. Louis Blues

Josh Rimer of Sportsnet reported Roy is close to signing a new contract.

Roy finished with 37 points last season, 28 of which were assists. The Nashville Predators are one of the main teams he's linked to. And Josh Cooper of The Tennessean is a fan for a variety of reasons, one of which is because he'd help the recently acquired James Nealwho the Penguins traded to Nashville.

New acquisition James Neal needs someone who can simply feed him the puck. Roy is an excellent distributor. He has had over 40 assists four times in his career. All he'll have to do is feed Neal the puck -- something he did playing with sniping winger Thomas Vanek in Buffalo.

If Rimer's report holds true, Neal will find out if Roy will be playing alongside him soon.

 

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too: @TheRealDDaniels.

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