By Glenn Brewer
The NY Islanders and the rest of the NHL have opened training camps, followed by preseason games. As the training camps begin, the Professional Tryout Contracts (PTO) are being announced. Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders do not appear to be bringing any players into camp on a tryout contract with CapFriendly showing a full roster of 23/23 players. The anticipation is that Richard Panik will be waived after the way last season transpired and Robin Salo, who is not listed on the varsity roster, will soon be called up.
Although Lamoriello has brought players into camp on professional tryouts in the past, he did not see a fit with the currently available players nor does he believe the current roster needs fine-tuning.
History of PTOs
As the NHL shifted to a salary cap, the free agent frenzy changed drastically. Much of free agency is handled early in the summer and many serviceable players are left to wait for teams to make cap room or take a professional tryout.
On many occasions, the players signing PTOs are veterans looking to prove that they can still play in the league or younger players with a promise that has not quite developed. As you can imagine, many PTOs have turned into nothing while others have been contributors to the team. Additionally, a player has signed a PTO with one team and then received an NHL contract from another team, while on a tryout.
Although a PTO player is not going to have the impact of a UFA signing in July, many players have provided solid contributions off a PTO. Mason Raymond signed a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs and went on to put up 19 goals and 45 points with them for the 2013-14 season.
Brad Boyes played with the Islanders in 2012-13 and put a nice season together with 35 points in 48 games. The next off-season, Boyes signed a PTO with the Florida Panthers and scored 21 goals and 36 points. Alex Chiasson won a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals but found himself without a contract entering the 2018-19 season.
Chiasson signed a PTO with the Edmonton Oilers and went on to score 22 goals and 38 points that season for the Oilers.
Islanders Training Camp
While the Islanders have a deep group that has been playing together for quite some time, it is obvious that change is necessary to take the next step.
This group has had a great amount of success but still has come up short in the goal to win a Stanley Cup.
Although a new coach staff will enter this season, the group of players remains the same as the prior season. A season filled with obstacles, but a failure, nonetheless.
Bringing in a player on a PTO could provide the competition in the camp that would be necessary to elevate the performance of the group. It is also possible that the player on PTO could outperform and earn a spot with the team.
At the very least, the organization is branching out to new talent for depth opportunities at the NHL or AHL level.
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October 1st, 2022