NHL Rumors: Top PTO candidates available for the opening of training camps

NHL training camps are expected to open on December 30 for teams that missed out on Return-To-Play action and January 3 for everyone else. That means in less than two weeks training camps will soon open up.

So now it’s time to take a look at some still available free agents that would make great candidates for a PTO (professional tryout). With the creation of a 4-6 man taxi squad, these guys will certainly get a look.

Note: This list has been updated from 11/29 and no longer includes Ilya Kovalchuk who is set to sign in the KHL.

Derick Brassard, C (33 years-old)

NHL PTO candidates
Derick Brassard Islanders (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Big game Brass will become Big Bargain Brass for the team willing to give him a 1 year deal at $1 million. He scored 32 points in 66 games last season but really showed something for the surprising Islanders in return to play.

In 18 games this summer, Brassard notched two goals and eights points. He helped the Islanders get to the Eastern Conference Final. The latest rumors have the Isles still interested, but they still have to handle the Mat Barzal situation.

Corey Perry, RW (35 years-old)

NHL PTO candidates
Corey Perry wins it in double OT (Dallas News / Codie McLachlan)

Perry showed he still had something left in the tank and helped the Dallas Stars get to the Stanley Cup Final. He did so on a one year deal for just $1.5 million and he likely will sign for something similar again.

The big power-forward scored 21 points in 57 games last season. He also added 9 points in 27 RTP games this summer. He would be a nice third line add for many teams but would need to prove himself at camp in this economy.

Latest rumors have him attached to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Craig Anderson, G (39 years-old)

nhl pto candidates
Kovalchuk bears down on Anderson ( Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)

Anderson has been the backbone for a very bad Ottawa Senators franchise for a long time. On most nights, the Senators would’ve been blow out of the water if not for this 17 year veteran.

If teams are looking for a solid net minder who can still stop the rubber, Anderson is your man. Should teams remain unsure, a PTO invite could be all they need to make up their minds.

The Capitals could be very interested in Anderson or the next goalie on this list now that Henrik Lundqvist is unable to play.

Jimmy Howard, G (36 years-old)

Poor Jimmy Howard. He was under assault last season for a terrible Red Wings team and managed a 2-23-2 record. However, in 543 NHL games Howard’s record is solid at 246-196-70 with a 2.62 GAA and .912 SV%.

He’s only played for one franchise, but is probably eager to get with a contender. I wouldn’t be surprised if his agent hasn’t already called the Caps.

Carl Soderberg, C (35 years-old)

NHL PTO candidates
Soderberg still available (CP)

Last season Soderberg put up decent numbers for the Arizona Coyotes. The 6-3″ pivot notched 35 points in 70 games while averaging 15 minutes a game.

Teams looking for a third or fourth line center that can be tough in the defensive zone should look at Carl. Any team looking for center depth should invite him to camp on a PTO.

That’s unless he opts to play in Europe first.

Brian Boyle, C (35 years-old)

Rangers PTO candidates
Brian Boyle, NYR

In 39 games for the Panthers last season he scored six goals and 15 points. Boyle would also be a vocal leader in the locker-room and help any 4th line and PK.

Ben Hutton, D (27 years old)

Any team looking for an option on the left side of the defense may want to start here. Young Ben Hutton could be the answer, at least on a tryout basis for a needy team. He notched 16 points in 65 games for the L.A. Kings last year but is now a UFA.

I suspect someone will lock up Hutton on a deal soon. However, if he is still around in January why not bring him in.

Devin Shore, C (26 years-old)

new york rangers rumors
Devin Shore (Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch)

The 6’1″ center showed some promise early in his career with the Dallas Stars. In his first two full seasons he scored 33 and 32 points respectively. Since then he has bounced from Anaheim to Columbus and now to UFA.

This 2nd round pick, 61st overall could be someone to give a look at training camp for the 4th line. Certainly a good taxi squad pivot.