For many, it’s surprising that it took until late January for Vinny Prospal to get at least a shot at resuming his NHL career, but it looks like the Vancouver Canucks will give him a chance to prove he can do it.
The Canucks announced that they signed the veteran winger to a PTO, allowing him to try out with the AHL’s Utica Comets.
Canucks GM Mike Gillis said that Prospal might get 8-10 games to prove himself and that the opportunity opened up thanks to some injuries for the team, according to Sportsnet Pacific.
Beyond his quietly impressive production (at least for an unemployed hockey player), the most interesting aspect of this situation is his relationship with John Tortorella, who coached him with the Rangers and Lightning.
Gillis notes that Torts “likes him a lot,” even though the 38-year-old memorably gave this slightly NSFW interview about the fiery coach back with Tampa Bay on Feb. 12, 2008.
While Prospal’s lack of speed is a frequent critique, he’s found a way to be an underrated producer. He’s a seven-time 20+ goal sorer, including 33 in 2007-08. He also peaked with 80 points in 2005-06 as a member of the Lightning (while also generating 79 and 71-point campaigns in his career).
It’s not all in the past, either, as only Rick Nash (59) scored more points than he did in Columbus (55) during the 2011-12 campaign.
Maybe you don’t break the bank for a player like that, especially at an advanced age, yet he seems like he’s worth a shot.
… And that’s not just because he might have another memorable confrontation with Torts.