Tag: Sheldon Brookbank

Vitaly Vishnevski skates with the puck

Ducks invite Brookbank, Vishnevski(!) to camp

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Sometimes a training camp long-shot can be a great story, especially when an inclusion comes from left field.

In the case of Vitaly Vishnevski (pictured) taking part in Anaheim Ducks’ training camp – in 2015 – it’s more like an invitation that came from outside the ballpark.

He’s one of two veteran defensemen of note who will try to turn heads this pre-season alongside Sheldon Brookbank (who one would assume has a much better chance to make an impact). You can check out the Ducks’ full camp roster here.

It’s really one of those double-take moments that can be refreshing as hockey season is still a few weeks away.

Report: Diaz passes on Wings, will attend Flames camp instead


Raphael Diaz will be wearing red in training camp — just not the shade Detroit envisioned.

On Monday, reports out of Switzerland claimed Diaz will attend Calgary Flames camp on a PTO, turning down an earlier invite from the Red Wings in the process.

Diaz, 28,  appeared in 63 games for the Canadiens, Canucks and Rangers last year, scoring two goals and 15 points. Known primarily as an offensive defenseman — he had 14 points in 23 games with the Habs during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — Diaz also represented Switzerland at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and played in four playoff games with the Blueshirts en route to last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

Diaz is also a right-handed shot, something the Red Wings had been looking to add all summer. It’s possible the Swiss rearguard liked his chances of sticking in the NHL with Calgary more than Detroit, which makes sense — the Flames’ projected top six isn’t overly deep with Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid and Deryk Engelland; as such, the likes of veterans Sheldon Brookbank (also on a PTO) and Corey Potter (signed to a two-way deal) came aboard in the hope of landing jobs.

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


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.

Report: Flames expected to try out Brookbank

Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators

Sheldon Brookbank expressed some hope in returning to the Chicago Blackhawks next season, but it appears he’ll settle for a training camp tryout with the Calgary Flames, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.

“The Hawks said that they liked me and they’d like to have me back if it worked but obviously they’re a little strapped under the cap,” Brookbank said on Friday. “It didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped. It’s not to say that it’s totally over and done with. You never know what could happen from now until the start of the season. As for now, I’m moving on and I’m going to Calgary and I’m going to try to make their team.

The best way to describe Brookbank is as a depth defenseman. The tougher question comes down to whether or not he’s a useful sixth or seventh blueliner.

On one hand, he seemed to draw a pretty positive reaction from Blackhawks onlookers. Second City Hockey gave him a “B-” for his work in 2013-14:

The Blackhawks got about as much as they could have asked for from Sheldon Brookbank this past season.  He is exactly what you want in your 7th defenseman.  He is a veteran presence, who is responsible in his own end and will provide some physical play when needed.  It was the physical part of his game that had him dressed for all five regular season matchups versus the St. Louis Blues.

Of course, you could say that Brookbank was graded “on a curve,” as Habs Eyes on the Prize found that he was one of the most sheltered defenseman in the league last season, receiving favorable zone starts and arguably being propped up by teammates.

That said, grabbing meaningful minutes with the Blackhawks is likely quite a bit tougher than doing the same with the Flames, so it’s easy to see why the 33-year-old may get some consideration.

He put up respectable possession stats for a bottom pairing defenseman and could provide useful veteran insurance for the Flames next season (at least if he impresses during his tryout).

Versteeg returns to Chicago’s lineup for Game 7

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has made some substantial tweaks in the 2014 Western Conference finals, with some working out against the Los Angeles Kings and some providing a minimal impacts. He raised a few eyebrows on Sunday by inserting Kris Versteeg back into the lineup.

Michal Rozsival also drew back into the Blackhawks mix tonight.

Versteeg had a flat-out disastrous Game 5. He made a mistake that opened the door for at least one Kings goal and another chance or two without providing much of an offensive burst.

The 28-year-old found himself glued to the bench after a second-period Dustin Brown goal despite the game hitting a second overtime and then was a healthy scratch in Game 6.

It’s a bit surprising to see him back in the lineup for such a big game, even if he’s replacing a nondescript player like Sheldon Brookbank. A quick search of “Versteeg” produces some optimism:

… Along with some pessimism:

We’ll see if Versteeg makes an impact tonight (one way or another).