Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur says he’s ready to play, but is New Jersey ready to play him?

New Jersey Devils G Martin Brodeur spoke to the media today about coming off IR and the state of his injured shoulder. According to Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com, Brodeur told Devils goalie coach Chris Terreri that “if they need me tomorrow, I’ll be okay to play.”

Which leaves the decision of when to get Brodeur back into action with head coach Peter DeBoer. (The future Hall-of-Famer has been out since Oct. 13 and played just 80 minutes all told this season.)

So, when should Marty play?

At first glance, the answer is right away — 38-year-old backup Johan Hedberg has started seven consecutive games. He began strongly with two straight wins, but has fallen back to earth lately by going 1-3-1 over his last five while allowing seven goals in his last two outings.

Yet when asked if Brodeur would play Wednesday in Toronto, DeBoer was non-committal. “He’ll make that call,” DeBoer said. “This guy knows his body better than anybody. There’s nothing that I can look at out there and decide what he knows. He knows his body. We just don’t want to rush him to get in there.”

While it’s probably true the organization doesn’t want to rush Brodeur back, you have to wonder about what Rich Chere of the New Jersey Star-Ledger wrote this week. Chere posed the question — “Will Johan Hedberg split workload when Martin Brodeur returns?” — an always uncomfortable topic in New Jersey. Brodeur’s a living legend and one of the greatest to ever play the position; asking if he should be splitting time with a career journeyman can be dicey.

But Hedberg’s shown he can be a viable option in goal. In addition to his stellar work this year (4-3-1, .924 GAA, 2.28 save percentage), he was equally impressive last year, going 15-12-2 (.912, 2.38) while Brodeur missed time with elbow and knee injuries.

We’re also at a time where coaches are apt to ride hot hands in net. Davis Payne has used Brian Elliott extensively in St. Louis and Guy Boucher has turned to Mathieu Garon in Tampa, and both have been rewarded in the win column.

Throw in the fact New Jersey wants back in the playoffs after missing last season, and you have a team where playing time might be dictated by performance — not by reputation.

Nugent-Hopkins trying to ignore trade rumors — ‘If it happens, it happens’

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on December 14, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.

The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.

“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”

Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.

What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.

The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.

Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.

Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.

Flyers reportedly avoid arbitration with Manning, sign him for two more years

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Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.

Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.

Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.

Report: Blackhawks, Rundblad agree to terminate contract

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 09:  David Rundblad #5 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at American Airlines Center on October 9, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.

Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.

It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.

Sydor named assistant coach of Blues’ AHL affiliate

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 11: Assistant coach Darryl Sydor of the Minnesota Wild looks up at the jumbotron during a video review in a game against the Ottawa Senators, during the NHL home opener to kick off the Senators' 20th anniversary at Scotiabank Place on October 11, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.

The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.

Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.

“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”