Professional Tryout Overreactions, Retirement News, and more
Photo credit:Andy Devlin/NHL
1 month ago
The city of Edmonton is absolutely buzzing!
It’s finally #PTOEveryone Season and hockey fans can’t wait to see what past their prime veterans and fringe roster players are going to be donning the orange and blue in training camp!
Right off the bat, we heard people groaning about the Brandon Sutter PTO because he hadn’t played in two years.
Sam Gagner has not signed a PTO in Edmonton yet, and it’s unclear if he even will, and yet there are fans on Twitter screaming that Gagner doesn’t have any game left and scolding the organization because they can’t let go of the past.
Here’s the beauty of the PTO: it costs nothing and there is no downside.
If things don’t go well on the ice, then you send them away. At worst, you get a veteran who can slide in for a few pre-season games and saves some wear and tear on some of your key players.
At best, you could hit on one of these pieces and end up with a player that actually helps you win a few games during the year.
No downside, unless you bring in someone like Jake Virtanen, but we don’t need to relive that.
Outside of the potential Gagner move, which I would be in favour of, here are some other names I would be open to the Oilers bringing in ahead of camp.
Mark Pysyk – The local product missed last season with an injury but has plenty of NHL experience. He could provide some competition to Desharnais and Broberg for the 6/7 spot on the team’s blueline.
Simon Benoit – Similar to Pysyk, he’s a defenseman who can play. He might get a guaranteed contract from someone, but if he’s open to a PTO, then the Oilers should look at it.
Zach Aston-Reese – A physical bottom-six winger who can chip in 10-12 goals a season. The Oilers lost some jam with the exit of Klim Kostin and ‘ZAR’ could provide exactly that.
Maxime Comtois – I still think he’ll get a guaranteed contract somewhere, but even then I think the Oilers should consider it. He’s young and has shown flashes of having 20-goal potential. He’s a very interesting buy-low candidate.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Outside of Edmonton…
What are the Boston Bruins going to do? About a month after Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement, David Krejci delivered the same news to Bruins fans and now, on August 14th, the Bruins are sitting without their top two centremen from the last decade and they don’t really have any replacements lined up.
It’s not like Krejci and Bergeron had stopped being impactful either. Bergeron just won the Selke Trophy and Krejci had 56 points in 70 games. Now, the Bruins will need to hope that Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha are capable of sliding up the depth chart and being strong top-six options.
The problem is that even if they are, moving those two up the lineup is going to really hurt the Bruin’s depth, which was a major strength last season.
Is there a trade that could be made? I suppose, but the Bruins are right up against the salary cap. With their current 22-man roster, the Bruins only have about $400k in cap space and not a lot of contracts that are easy to use as cap dumps.
Two popular names that have been thrown around are Mark Schiefele ($6m AAV) and Elias Lindholm ($4.85m AAV). Both are free agents at the end of the season.
If either the Jets or Flames were willing to retain money on those two and the Bruins could include defensemen like Matt Grzelcyk or Derek Forbort, then they could potentially make the money side of things work but it’s also worth noting that the Bruins don’t have any picks in the first three rounds of the 2024 NHL Draft and a depleted prospect pool.
GM Don Sweeney is in a bit of a tough spot here.
Speaking of Lindholm and Schiefele, it seemed like a lock at the start of the offseason that they would be moved. They were both firmly inside of Frank Seravalli’s top ten trade targets, along with some of their teammates, but nothing came to fruition.
Could a late-summer blockbuster be made? Or will these two suddenly become the top trade deadline targets for 2024?
The latter seems more likely as of right now but you never know. Other names that seemed like locks to be moved earlier this summer include Connor Hellebuyck, Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, and Travis Konecny.
Usually, I wouldn’t totally write off the idea of a late summer trade going down but there are only five teams in the league with more than $5m in projected cap space. The true Stanley Cup contenders are so tight to the cap that even if they wanted to fork over the assets to make a move, they likely couldn’t make the money work.
For teams like the Jets and Flames, it actually might be smart to hold onto pieces like Hellebuyck, Schiefele, Lindholm, and Hanifin. If you’d be willing to retain 50% at the deadline, more teams would be able to squeeze those players into their cap picture and suddenly, the market might expand.
The hauls you get for these players considering that they’re premium rentals should still be very good and it gives you the chance to see if your group can at least be in the mix for a playoff spot.
It’s a long way away, but there could be some big names available at the 2024 NHL trade deadline.
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