NHL Free Agents 2014: Rumors and Predictions for Players Still Available

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NHL Free Agents 2014: Rumors and Predictions for Players Still Available
USA TODAY Sports

The majority of free agents in the NHL may have already been signed, but there are still a few players available that are generating a bit of buzz on the open market.

By now, the big names in free agency have already been signed. Defenseman Matt Niskanen ended up with the Washington Capitals, while the Colorado Avalanche were able to land the talented 37-year-old Jarome Iginla to try and make a Stanley Cup push.

With a few free agents still on the market, let's take a look at some of the latest rumors around the NHL along with predictions for where the players will end up.

 

Martin Brodeur Just Fine with Waiting

USA TODAY Sports

At 42 years old, Martin Brodeur is apparently not done in the NHL, even if it means not playing with the New Jersey Devils, who he has spent his entire career with up to this point.

While the future Hall of Fame goalie isn't the same player that he used to be, teams are apparently still interested in Brodeur. According to Louis Jean from TVA Sports, teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are interested in bringing him in.

Over his career, Brodeur has broken the records for most career wins, shutouts, games played and postseason shutouts. However, he's lost a step the past couple of seasons, allowing 2.37 goals per game and posting just a .901 save percentage. Still, considering his resume, it's understandable that teams are interested in Brodeur.

While some players may be getting anxious at this point as they try to find new teams, Brodeur apparently isn't too worried about signing with a team right away.

“I’m still looking for the right fit and the right fit might not come this summer, it might come later on in the fall,” Brodeur said according to Sean Leahy of Yahoo Sports. “I’m pretty open-minded. Regardless of what happens, if I play or don’t play, I’m ready for anything. I’m looking forward to a new challenge, regardless if it’s outside of hockey or still in hockey with a different organization.”

Don't expect anyone to sign Broduer anytime soon, but look for a potential contender to try and bring the 42-year-old in as a backup in the fall, assuming they can clear cap space by then.

Prediction: Boston Bruins

 

Sheldon Brookbank Still Exploring Options

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He isn't the flashiest defenseman in the league, but Sheldon Brookbank is an established veteran that has spent plenty of time on the back lines, and because of that, the 33-year-old will find a home somewhere soon.

This past season with the Blackhawks, Brookbank served his purpose as a seventh defenseman, providing a physical veteran presence while taking care of the puck. The Blackhawks did move him to forward for a number of games during the year, but judging by what he did, it's unlikely he'll be asked to spend much time there again.

Chris Kuc from the Chicago Tribune tweeted that a number of teams are talking with Brookbank, but a return to the Blackhawks is still a possibility.

After spending two seasons in Chicago, Brookbank may well stay put. He shined when he had to during the team's playoff series against the St. Louis Blues while Brent Seabrook was suspended, and that may be enough for the Blackhawks to bring him back.

Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks

 

Derick Brassard Wants to Get Paid

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New York Rangers center Derick Brassard had the best season of his career in terms of goals while helping his team make it to the Stanley Cup Final, but his asking price may be a bit high.

Brassard is one of a number of players scheduled to have an arbitration hearing by the end of the month. After the hearing, Brassard is likely to get a one-year deal, but he's apparently still hoping that the Rangers will give him a large long-term deal, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, saying:

Zuccarello, whose hearing is scheduled for July 25, and Brassard, whose hearing is set for July 28, are both eligible to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Hence, they would receive one-year awards should they actually go to arbitration.

Brassard, who would likely be in the $4.5 million-$4.75 million arbitration range off his 45-point (17-28) year, is believed to be looking for a long-term deal worth approximately $5.5 million per.

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This past season, Brassard was able to put up 45 points thanks to a career-high 18 goals. At only 26 years old, the future looks bright for Brassard, which explains his desire for such an expensive long-term deal.

Last season could just be the beginning for Brassard, who has the potential to break 50 points in the near future. However, there is also the possibility that Brassard returns to hovering around 30 points per season. I don't think that will be the case, however, and after the arbitration hearing is over, I expect the Rangers to come to terms on a long-term deal with the 26-year-old.

Prediction: New York Rangers

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