NHL Rumors: Jimmy Vesey latest to sign PTO, who else could follow suit?

nhl rumors pto
Mar 26, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Jimmy Vesey (16) reacts after a New Jersey Devils goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s NHL Rumors, we start to take a closer look at some potential PTO candidates teams may consider to bring into camp.

Jimmy Vesey is looking for a reunion with his first team, the New York Rangers. According to CapFriendly, he’s the latest player looking to get into an NHL lineup via Professional Tryout (PTO).

Vesey, 29, registered 8 goals and 15 points in 68 games for the New Jersey Devils last season. He began his NHL career by signing with the Rangers as a free agent out of college in 2016-17. 

He joins several other key free agents looking to go this route in order to earn a roster spot.

Derek Stepan agreed to a PTO with the Carolina Hurricanes this offseason, as did Eric Staal with the Florida Panthers. Both are noted veterans that were unable to get standard contracts and opted to earn one by way of a tryout.

What is a PTO? It’s basically a contract that teams can offer unsigned free agents in order to invite them to training camp. This will give the club a closer look at a potential free agent they may want to sign.

NHL Rumors: Vesey latest to sign PTO, who is next?

NHL PTO
Apr 16, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser (65) collide during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

In our latest top free agent tracker, we listed out a number of players still looking for a contract. Several of them are still very likely to get a standard offer prior to the start of the 2022-23 season.

In the list below, we identified several as potential PTO candidates in bold and italics.

PLAYERAGEPOSPREVIOUS CAP HIT
P.K. Subban33D $    9,000,000.00 
Loui Eriksson36F $    6,000,000.00 
Anton Strålman35D $    5,500,000.00 
Danny DeKeyser32D $    5,000,000.00 
Calvin De Haan31D $    4,550,000.00 
Victor Rask29C $    4,000,000.00 
Brett Connolly30F $    3,500,000.00 
Antoine Roussel32F $    3,000,000.00 
Jay Beagle36C $    3,000,000.00 
Thomas Hickey33D $    2,500,000.00 
Cody Eakin31C $    2,250,000.00 
Ryan Murray28D $    2,000,000.00 
Zach Aston-Reese27F $    1,725,000.00 
Sonny Milano26F $    1,700,000.00 
Scott Harrington29D $    1,633,333.00 
Nathan Beaulieu29D $    1,250,000.00 
Kris Russell35D $    1,250,000.00 
Tyler Motte27F $    1,225,000.00 
Evan Rodrigues28F $    1,000,000.00 
NHL Free Agent Tracker

The most interesting name we believe to be a top PTO candidate is Danny DeKeyser.

The Red Wings veteran rearguard just wrapped up a 6-year deal with an AAV of $5 million and there’ve been no takers on the free agent market to date. In 2021-22, he picked up 11 assists in 59 contests. Injury concerns are a consideration here.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski’s noted that DeKeyser is being presented as a Jack Johnson type signing. This isn’t a bad approach considering Johnson helped the Avalanche win a Stanley Cup last season.