Five PTOs that could be coming to a NHL city near you

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We already know that Simon Gagne will be attending Bruins training camp on a professional try out, while Sheldon Brookbank and Scott Gomez will do the same in Calgary and New Jersey, respectively.

So who else might get their shot at a PTO?

Dustin Penner: Solid resume (four-time 20-goal scorer, two Stanley Cups), less than solid reputation — the latter is probably the main reason Penner, 31, remains unsigned. There are questions about his fitness and conditioning and, in light of that, he could be a prime candidate for a tryout to essentially show his worth and fight for a job. Penner was already linked to a PTO in Philly, a rumor GM Ron Hextall later shot down.

Jamie McBain: There aren’t many 26-year-old defensemen with nearly 300 games of NHL experience out there, which should play into McBain’s favor. The former University of Wisconsin standout has shown good offensive ability in the past — he had a career-high 30 points in 76 games with Carolina three years ago — and played a fair bit in Buffalo last year (69 games, scoring 17 points).

Shane O’Brien: The well-traveled veteran has plenty of experience (528 regular season and 40 playoff games) and only just turned 31 last month. While he’s earned himself a reputation as party guy — most notably during his time in Vancouver — he’s still a physical specimen (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) that can provide a big-bodied presence on the blueline. Per a report from Sportsnet producer Josh Rimer, O’Brien could be on his way to Florida for a tryout.

Ryan Malone: A six-time 20-goal scorer and former U.S. Olympian, Malone is hoping to catch on somewhere and revive a career that’s in tatters. He was bought out of his contract in Tampa Bay following an April arrest for DUI and cocaine possession; prior to the arrest, Malone was already being faded out of the picture in Tampa as injuries and a lack of foot speed often saw him banished to the press box as a healthy scratch. That said, there are reports that teams have expressed an interest — the Rangers were apparently speaking to Malone, while agent Mike Liut said a couple clubs were inquiring about his client’s services.

Andrei Loktionov: Only 24 years old, the Russian center has already garnered the attention of  a few NHL clubs (per his agent.) Loktionov is a skilled guy and did show some promise with New Jersey during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — scoring eight goals and 12 points in 28 games — but he’s also still recovering from surgery for a shoulder injury, suffered while playing for Russia at the Worlds.

Zetterberg on pace to play 1,000th game in Joe Louis Arena farewell

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Barring injury, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will get the opportunity to make his 1,000th NHL game even more special.

Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill confirmed today that Zetterberg will play tonight and tomorrow in Carolina, putting the 36-year-old on pace to play his 1,000th game on Apr. 9, the date of the final Wings game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, have eight games left in their regular season. They host New Jersey on Apr. 9.

Tonight’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but had to be postponed due to poor ice conditions at PNC Arena.

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.