Mike Gillis is the Oprah of the PTO.

Thomas Drance
September 15 2011 09:30AM

Everyone gets one!

Yes, thats right! You get a PTO Manny Legace, you too Owen Nolan, and you get a PTO Niko Dimitrakos and Anders Eriksson! *cue excited screams*

Today Blake Price tweeted the news that the Canucks management team have invited two more veteran professional hockey players: Niko Dimitrakos and Anders Eriksson, to camp. Both have skirted around the fringes of the league for the better part of the post-lockout era, and both spent at least some time with Modo of the SEL last season. Modo and the Canucks have something of a longstanding relationship (both Sedins, and Naslund are products of Modo's junior team) and it's not a stretch to imagine that relationship played some role in the signings.

32 year old Niko Dimitrakos has an awesome name, but not much useful hockey skill to speak of. Dimitrakos is just about the purest example of a "hockey nomad" you can find - having spent time in the Swiss league, the NHL, the AHL, the KHL, the DEL and the SEL in his career. He's spent time with both the San Jose Sharks and the Philadelphia Flyers in the past and has also previously suited up with the Chicago Wolves. He last saw an NHL game in 2006-2007 when he suited up in five games with the Philadelphia Flyers, going pointless and skating to a -4 while taking three minor penalties. Yikes.

Last season Dimitrakos split time between Modo, and the Manheim Eagles of the DEL. That he put up 15 points in 20 games with Manheim, and was a point per game player in the postseason, should perhaps temper any excitement about Manny Legace's try-out bid.

Anders Ericsson is 36 years old, and has over 500 games of NHL experience, and 36 playoff games under his belt. He spent last season in the SEL with Timra and Modo, playing 31 games combined and contributing 13 points. Ericsson's last season in the show was in 2009-10 when he combined to play 20 games for the Rangers and Coyotes.

Before that he'd spent the previous two seasons with the Flames organization, though he spent all of the 2008-2009 regular season with the Flames AHL affiliate - before being called upon to dress in two playoff games. His last full NHL season was in 2007-08 with Calgary. Luckily for us, this season falls within the "behind the net era" so I can tell you that he was largely sheltered in terms of his zone starts, competition and teammates - yet he still finished somewhat below water.

Many Canucks fans are probably a bit over excited by the presence of particular veterans at Canucks training camp. Though guys like Legace (he's insurance in case Gillis trades Schneider!) and Owen Nolan (Mark Recchi!!) could impress - they're very much long shots to make the team. The sheer volume of PTOs that Gillis and Gillman have given out this summer are proof of that.

A PTO doesn't cost the team anything, it doesn't count against the contract limit and it allows the Canucks to take a cost-free flyer on a veteran player. The invite gives that particular veteran a chance - often a last chance - to impress (either Gillis or a rival GM) and win an NHL job. As Gillman said on the Team1040 - these deals are a "win-win" for both sides.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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