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NHL Free Agency: Bell set to test UFA market

Defenceman Brendan Bell, who played a more prominent role than many expected after signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators for the 2008-09 season, appears set to leave Ottawa for greener pastures elsewhere in the league. Bell is looking for a one-way contract to play on an NHL squad for next season, but was unable to secure one with the Senators. Rather than tender him a qualifying offer and restrict his possible movement, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray decided to let Bell test the waters, according to the Ottawa Sun.

It was rumoured that the Senators had interest in re-signing Bell if they could clear some of the logjam on defence. Although Murray was rumoured to be shopping Alex Picard or Jason Smith, no deals were made so it looks like another player who wants to stay in Ottawa will be on his way out because the numbers won't add up.

Thanks to his good 2008-09 season, the odds are in Bell's favour to find a contract somewhere in the NHL--particularly because he won't likely demand a high salary.