Questions about Martin Brodeur’s future with the New Jersey Devils are keeping his name in the NHL trade rumor mill. The long-time Devils starting goalie is now backing up Cory Schneider. Brodeur recently gave a mixed message on his status, saying he’s thought about waiving his no-trade clause while claiming he prefers to finish the season with the Devils. He said he’d consider waiving if approached by GM Lou Lamoriello about a trade that made sense for both parties.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the 41-year-old netminder is expected to spend the Olympic break mulling his options. If Brodeur decides to move on, Brooks considers the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators as trade destinations. The Wild are relying on call-up Darcy Kuemper while Josh Harding grapples with MS symptoms and Niklas Backstrom deals with soreness related to off-season abdominal surgery. The Predators are trying to make do without starter Pekka Rinne, who’s recovering from an infection since late-October in his surgically repaired hip.
Kuemper played well for the Wild leading up to the Olympic break (8-2-2 in his last 13 games). Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports Wild GM Chuck Fletcher will evaluate his goaltending after the Sochi Games. Harding is expected to return following in March. If not, Russo suggests Fletcher could stick with Kuemper.
The Predators acquired Devan Dubnyk in mid-January from the Edmonton Oilers, but Carter Hutton got most of the starts, going 6-2-2 in his past 10 games. Depending on Rinne’s status and how Dubnyk and Hutton perform leading up to the March 5 trade deadline, the Predators could also stand pat.
If the Devils shop Brodeur, they could seek a scoring winger in return. They are 27th overall in goals-per-game (2.29), prompting center Patrik Elias to say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand they need another scorer. Lamoriello declined to comment when asked if he was trying to address this issue. The Wild and Predators are also among the league’s lowest-scoring clubs, so offering Brodeur in exchange for a scoring forward won’t fly with them.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims Lamoriello is willing to deal Jaromir Jagr. Unless Lamoriello doubts his club can make the playoffs, trading away his leading scorer doesn’t make sense.
For teams seeking a goaltending upgrade, Brodeur is a more affordable option than Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, who’s been linked to the Wild and the St. Louis Blues in trade chatter. If the Blues lose faith in their tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, Brodeur could be an enticing rental option. It’s believed Blues winger Chris Stewart is available, so perhaps there’s a fit there. Though a streaky scorer, Stewart would address the Devils short-term scoring needs.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays 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.