Max Comtois among many free agents still skating on PTO deals
Today’s NHL News follows up with the latest regarding players on professional tryout offers still skating in camps across the NHL.
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According to CapFriendly.com, 33 unrestricted free agents are still looking for a job, with the new NHL season starting in seven days. Right now, 18 of those skaters are in training camp, looking for a spot, whether it’s in the lineup, in the press box, or the minors. As we continue to examine all the headlines leading up to opening night today, we wanted to look at some of the names still pushing for a new contract.
NHL Free Agents on PTO Deals
Max Comtois – Vegas Golden Knights
Max Comtois is looking for a new team after five seasons with the Ducks, where he collected 86 points in 210 games, including a personal best 33 in 2020-21. Interestingly, he’s still skating with the Vegas Golden Knights, just a week from the start of their Stanley Cup defense. Statistically, he would have been the 13th-highest scorer on the team last season with 19 points and could be a worthy addition for lineup depth.
Danton Heinen – Boston Bruins
Entering training camp, Danton Heinen is getting a second chance with the Boston Bruins, the team that drafted him in 2014. After stints with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, including 22 points in 65 games last year with the Penguins, he’s still in the Bruins camp one week before opening night. Considering Boston’s thinness at the center position, keeping him around would help the bottom of the lineup.
Adam Erne – Edmonton Oilers
Adam Erne is still skating with the Edmonton Oilers, trying to land a new deal after the previous four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Considering he tallied 18 points last year, he would have finished as the Oilers’ 16th highest-scorer. However, the team has plenty of depth forwards, so it would be curious where he fits in the lineup if he stays beyond training camp.
Noah Gregor – Toronto Maple Leafs
As most of the hockey community knows, the Toronto Maple Leafs are about $13 million over the salary cap and already have a full roster. But Noah Gregor is still in camp and could be a surprise addition to the roster if they sign him to a deal by opening night. After four years with the San Jose Sharks, where he tallied 51 points in 178 games, he would have been the Maple Leafs’ 15th-highest scorer last year with 17 points.
Colin White – Pittsburgh Penguins
Surprisingly, former first-round pick (21st overall) Colin White still seeks a contract offer with the Penguins. After a six-year stint with the Ottawa Senators, with 98 points in 224 games, he skated with the Florida Panthers last season, tallying just two points in 21 playoff games when the team lost in the Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately, since posting a career-high 41 points in 2018-19, he’s managed to tally more than 20 just once while struggling to keep a regular role in the lineup.
Zach Aston-Reese – Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes are early favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2023-24 and are looking for all the right pieces to survive the playoff grind. Currently, Zach Aston-Reese is still in training camp and has experience in 307 regular-season games and 29 postseason contests. Interestingly, during his only season with the Maple Leafs in 2022-23, he skated in a career-high 77 games and came within three points of tying his best of 17 from 2018-19.
Brett Ritchie – Florida Panthers
Advancing to the Stanley Cup Final took a toll on the Panthers, who will be without several key players like Matthew Tkachuk and Aaron Ekblad for the start of the regular season. Although Brett Ritchie would be able to provide some relief in the short term, he remains in camp and is still looking for a spot in the lineup. After splitting time between the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes last year, he played 50 games, the highest total since 2018-19, tallying 13 points, the most since 2017-18.
The following players are still on professional tryouts and will likely discover their fate within the next week or so.
- Sam Gagner (Edmonton Oilers)
- Scott Harrington (Anaheim Ducks)
- Austin Watson (Tampa Bay Lightning)
- Joel Kiviranta (Colorado Avalanche)
- Nathan Beaulieu (Carolina Hurricanes)
- Kieffer Burrows (Carolina Hurricanes)
- Jordie Benn (Dallas Stars)
- Austin Wagner (Pittsburgh Penguins)
- Libor Hajek (Pittsburgh Penguins)
- Max Willman (New Jersey Devils)
- Jackson Cates (New York Islanders)