In the first of what’s likely to be many stories like this during training camp, the Atlanta Thrashers have invited a veteran name of the more-recent past to join them at training camp to try and win a spot with the team. Thrashers Blueland Blog breaks the details of the former Bruins defenseman that will get his shot with Atlanta.
According to Rick Dudley, who I had an extensive chat with today (look for the Q&A on the site sometime soon) veteran defenseman Kyle McLaren will be coming to training camp on a tryout in an attempt to revive his career and earn a contract.
Dudley likes the potential of what McLaren could bring to the table.
“Kyle is a big, strong guy who, if he can stay away from injuries, is certainly capable of playing in this league.”
There’s the bugaboo in what Rick Dudley has to say on this: injuries. Kyle McLaren was once a pretty good defenseman for the Bruins and did all right with the Sharks, but since his last two seasons in Boston, staying totally healthy has been a major issue. McLaren hasn’t played hockey since the 2008-2009 season thanks to a knee injury and even that season he spent in the AHL with the Worcester Sharks. Life has been tough for McLaren.
If he can stay healthy, however, he provides a big body in front (6’4″ 220 pounds) and a physical presence on the ice. Whether he can actually keep it all together to make a run at cracking the top six for Atlanta is the big question. The Thrashers are currently rolling with Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Brent Sopel, Ron Hainsey, Johnny Oduya, Freddy Meyer, and Boris Valabik on defense. Fighting through all those guys will be tough and nearly impossible. At the very least, winning a job with their AHL team in Chicago is a possibility so that he can stay in playing shape and perhaps get the call back to the NHL later on.