At this rate, Toronto Maple Leafs training camp might feature closer competition than their games.
The Maple Leafs reportedly handed forward Brad Boyes a professional tryout contract on Thursday, according to Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland.
Boyes joins a remarkably distinguished group of veteran players hoping to make the Leafs, as Curtis Glencross and Devin Setoguchi are also in that PTO mix. That trio has combined for 464 goals and 1,005 points in their NHL careers.
Boyes, 33, has eclipsed the 20-goal mark four times in his career, yet he had to earn a contract in this situation before. The Florida Panthers made him try out before signing him, and he rewarded them with a 21-goal season in 2013-14.
He didn’t score as many goals with Florida in 2014-15 (14), but he actually ended up with more points (38 versus 36).
Is he a perfect player? No, but he’s managed to stay relevant enough to keep his NHL career alive, and he’s likely to push Setoguchi, Glencross and Maple Leafs youngsters for a roster spot in the coming weeks.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Tyler Seguin on the burning question in Dallas: is Patrick Sharp better looking than he is? (Dallas Morning News)
Former NHL-er (and Calder Trophy winner) Bryan Berard’s story keeps getting sadder. (National Post)
The case for signing Brad Boyes. (TSN)
Enjoy this spirited Q & A with NBC’s beloved Doc Emrick. (Sportsnet)
Update: Frederik Andersen still loves Legos. (The Hockey News)
What it was like for one fan/blogger falling in love with the Detroit Red Wings. (Winging It in Motown)
The AHL provided this handy guide of NHL affiliations, in case you’ve (understandably) had difficulty keeping track of the changes.
This seems like the perfect thing to stare at while you’re not really working on Friday morning.
The unrestricted free agent market has slowed to a crawl, but there are still some noteworthy players left for the taking and they might end up with buyer-friendly contracts at this point.
Here’s a sampling of the most interesting names:
Cody Franson — His return to Nashville didn’t go as scripted, but he’s still a 27-year-old (28 in August) defenseman that recorded 33 and 36 points in each of his last two seasons. Agent Gerry Johannson felt back in June that Jeff Petry’s six-year, $33 million extension was in the right “ballpark” for Franson, but at this point it would be interesting to see if he would settle for a one-year contract in the hope of finding more favorable conditions with his next deal.
Alex Semin — He had just six goals and 19 points in 57 contests last season and Hurricanes GM Ron Francis cited his compete level as a reason for buying him out. Semin has had a wildly inconsistent career, but when he’s at his best, he’s a top-tier goal scorer. The fact that he’s reportedly interested in a one-year deal suggests that the risks involved in signing him will be managed. Under those conditions, he at least has the potential to provide any team with a significant boost.
Christian Ehrhoff — Concussion problems limited Ehrhoff to just 49 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and that’s likely part of the reason he’s still on the open market. However, he has breached the 30-point mark six times and most recently in 2013-14. So perhaps his next one-year deal will go better than his last.
Marek Zidlicky — He’ll celebrate his 39th birthday in February, but he can still be a big contributor with the man advantage. In fact last season he was tied for 12th place among defensemen with 20 power-play points (34 overall).
Brad Boyes — He had a decent 14 goals and 38 points in 78 contests in 2014-15 with a Panthers team that didn’t do much offensively, but was nevertheless bought out. Although he’s unlikely to ever rise to the level he was at in 2007-2008 when he scored 43 goals, he’s still a decent secondary scorer and has traditionally be very effective in shootouts.
While Johnny Oduya is out there too, he’s expected to make his decision within the week. The Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks are among his potential destinations.
The Florida Panthers are ready to part ways with veteran forward Brad Boyes.
Per TSN, the club has placed Boyes on waivers for the purpose of buying out the last of his two-year, $5.25 million contract — one that carries a cap hit of $2.625M.
Per Cap Friendly, the buyout will cost Florida $833,333 in each of the next two seasons, while carrying a cap hit of $958,333 in year one and $833,333 in year two.
Boyes, 33, has spent the last two seasons in Florida and achieved a decent level of success, scoring 21 goals in his first year and 38 points last year — his highest total since 2011. That said, he did see a dip in minutes under new head coach Gerard Gallant this year.
The well-traveled journeyman could land with a new team once his buyout is complete. Though not the scorer he once was — Boyes netted 43 during the 2007-08 campaign, lest we forget — he can still produce on occasion and has proven durable, missing just eight games over the last three seasons.
Boyes is also one of the NHL’s all-time best in the shootout.
The Florida Panthers made some tweaks to its forward groups for Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as it looks like Brandon Pirri and Jimmy Hayes will replace Brad Boyes and Tomas Fleischmann, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards.
Despite their fairly prominent spots among Florida forwards, the scratches probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering Boyes’ and Fleischmann’s individual struggles. Boyes, 32, has one assist in his last five games. Fleischmann, 30, has gone four straight games without a point and only has three goals and five assists through 29 contests in 2014-15.
It’s not the only notable personnel move in this game, as the Penguins look primed to dress seven defensemen tonight.