- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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A quiet Friday morning got cranked up in a hurry when my TSN teammate Darren Dreger dropped a bombshell tweet saying Martin Brodeur might test free agency.
The NHL’s all-time winningest goalie hired veteran agent Pat Brisson after going years without representation.
"He will be testing free agency if a deal is not in place by Sunday," Brisson told ESPN.com via email Friday.
Brisson and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello had not yet spoken as of Friday morning but obviously were planning to do so before the day was done. The Devils’ ongoing ownership turmoil is the reason for this stunning predicament. Although you also have to wonder if Brodeur is reading the tea leaves on pending unrestricted free agent Zach Parise and not liking what he sees.
Could Brodeur really play for another team?
Keeping in mind there’s still a chance Brodeur will stay put, let’s look at the options if he does indeed dip his toes into the free-agent waters for the first time in his career:
Toronto Maple Leafs: What better role model for James Reimer than the game’s best ever? While the Leafs have talked to the Vancouver Canucks about Roberto Luongo, Brodeur could be had without giving up any assets, not to mention without the $53.3 million left on Luongo’s deal. Having said that, Luongo is still in his prime. Still, a Brodeur-Reimer combo doesn’t sound all too bad. The fly in the ointment here is that Leafs goaltender coach Francois Allaire and Brodeur are miles apart on style. You would have to think, though, that Allaire could just keep his distance from the big guy in this case. And the loquacious Brodeur in the biggest hockey media market in the NHL? That’s just too delicious to ignore.
Florida Panthers: There’s a young Jacob Markstrom who could sponge all kinds of knowledge from playing in a tandem with Brodeur. That’s no disrespect to Jose Theodore who did a solid job for the Panthers this past season. But the allure of bringing in Brodeur is certainly one I know the Panthers front office can’t ignore, at least as a thought. And yes, the Panthers have also talked to Vancouver about Luongo, and like Toronto, the debate is whether you want to give up assets for a star goalie in his prime or get an aging Brodeur without giving up assets and gamble that he can still be effective for another year or two.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Young Mr. Anders Lindback is getting his first shot at a No.1 job in the NHL after coming over from Nashville. He’s learned plenty playing behind star Pekka Rinne, but insurance in the form of Brodeur would make a lot of sense for Tampa. Obviously GM Steve Yzerman knows Brodeur well, as the two were teammates on the 2002 Olympic gold-medal squad for Team Canada.
Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford struggled in his sophomore year as the No. 1 goalie for the Hawks. Again, what better tonic for Crawford than fellow Montreal native and hero Brodeur. It would be a sensational insurance policy for a Stanley Cup contender like Chicago.
9dScott Burnside and Craig Custance