One of the more surprising announcements this summer came on Thursday when it it was revealed that Ryan Malone was getting a professional tryout with the Minnesota Wild. Surprising because Malone has not played in the NHL since the 2014-15 season, and even then only appeared in six games for the New York Rangers, recording zero points and only six shots on goal.
But he is taking one more shot and it seems that his goal isn’t necessarily to make the NHL.
According to Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune, Malone is hoping to at least show the Wild enough to earn himself an AHL contract with the Iowa Wild.
If he is able to do that and signs an AHL contract, as opposed to an NHL contract, that would make him eligible to play in the 2018 Olympics for Team USA, something that he has — according to Russo’s report — recently discussed with Team USA officials.
Malone, who will turn 38 this season, has played in 647 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Rangers. In those games he has 179 goals and 191 assists, including six 20-goal seasons.
He also has Olympic experience playing for the United States at the 2010 games. He scored three goals and added two assists for the team that took home Silver. An AHL contract and a chance to make the Olympic team seems like a reasonable goal for Malone at this point in his career. Given his age, how long he has been away from the NHL and how ineffective he was the last time we saw him, plus the fact the Wild have a pretty deep roster, it would seem to be a real long shot to anticipate him showing enough to earn a spot with the NHL team.