A September update on 8 PTO candidates for the Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber15 days ago
We are moving closer and closer to training camps kicking off around the NHL and teams will be looking to add players on professional try-outs (PTOs) to their roster as they move into training camp and the preseason.
The expectations from a PTO player are not high. This is a player who couldn’t earn an NHL contract in the summer and now needs to play their way into a contract with a team willing to give them a chance to do so. A lot of the time, these players will get a chance with the NHL club in preseason and can show enough to earn a contract even if they are sent down to the AHL.
One good thing about a PTO is that there is no risk. The team covers some per diem costs and provides team gear to the player — pennies in the jar to an NHL organization.
You’re not looking for difference makers here. It’s simply a chance to see if a pro can fit on your roster and play some games in the coming season. A good example here in Vancouver would be Alex Chiasson, who played in 67 games with the 2021-22 Canucks. He scored 13 goals and added nine assists that season. Those numbers are looked at as high-end production from a player on a PTO and if the Canucks can find a guy to contribute a similar amount to the 2023-24 roster, that would be a strong, free addition to the club.
We will give you the player’s height, weight, age, position and stats (games played, goals, assists, and points) from the 2022-23 season in the heading.
Danton Heinen, 6’1″, 187 lbs, 28, W — 65gp, 8g, 14a, 22p
The Langley-born centre played the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and scored 18 goals during the 2021-22 season. He has seen his ice time slip over his career but could still be a bottom-six addition who can play physically and bring a bit of offensive pop.
Unfortunately, he is a winger and the Canucks have a ton of wingers. Heinen doesn’t exactly have a trait that makes him stick out, so, he’s probably be in the mix with guys like Phil Di Giuseppe, Sheldon Dries, and Jack Studnicka for a roster spot. It’s a tall task but certainly an achievable challenge for Heinen. We’d like to see the former BCHL get a chance with his hometown club.
UPDATE: Danton Heinen has signed a PTO with the Boston Bruins.
Tyler Motte, 5’10”, 192 lbs, 28, W — 62gp, 8g, 11a, 19p
A penalty-killing fan favourite. Tyler Motte is still without an NHL contract and would be welcome to come to Vancouver on a PTO.
Motte brings some toughness and grit to the lineup and we’d be surprised if he didn’t play NHL games somewhere this season. His penalty-killing prowess is certainly something the Canucks are looking for in their lineup. He could impress enough to be fourth line option on opening night if he has a good camp and preseason.
Jujhar Khaira, 6’4″, 212 lbs, 29, LW — 51gp, 6g, 8a, 14p
Another local kid, Jujhar Khaira out of Surrey has over 300 games of NHL experience and hit double-digit goals during the 2017-18 season.
He’s been in and out of the lineup recently and played the last two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. Perhaps he finds his game with the local team.
Jesse Puljujarvi, 6’4″, 201 lbs, 25, RW — 75gp, 5g, 11a, 16p
Probably the most interesting of the PTO players we are spotlighting in this article. Jesse Puljujarvi scored 14+ goals in two of his last three seasons but really struggled with the Carolina Hurricanes last season and couldn’t find a consistent spot when he was on the Edmonton Oilers prior to his short stint with the Hurricanes.
Puljujarvi has size, a strong shot, and a big smile. He is likely fighting for his NHL career at this point.
He’s still young and seems to be one of those players who need a second or third chance in the NHL — something general manager Patrik Allvin has talked about.
Mason Shaw, 5’10”, 183 lbs, 24, LW — 59gp, 7g, 10a, 17p
Last season, Mason Shaw established himself as an NHLer after four seasons in the AHL. I guess he hasn’t established himself enough to earn an NHL contract and will require a PTO to get an opportunity to play this coming season.
Shaw has pace, decent hands, and can kill penalties. He played in 59 games last season and produced decently in that time. It’s a bit of a surprise that he couldn’t earn a league-minimum deal somewhere.
MISSED: Mason Shaw tore his ACL at the end of last season. This was his fourth ACL tear, so I doubt he’s coming back for a PTO. Yeah, the market is tough.
Colin White, 6’1″, 194 lbs, 26, C/RW — 68gp, 8g, 7a, 15
Last season was a tough one in the faceoff dot for Colin White. He saw his FO% drop to 43.1% but still put-together a 15-point season even though he averaged just 9:38 of ice time in 68 games with the Florida Panthers.
The problem here is that White doesn’t contribute to the shorthanded unit and many of these other names can do exactly that. With him looking more and more like a winger, he’s going to have to change his style of play or just hope to work his way up from an AHL start this season.
Ryan Murray, 6’1″, 205 lbs, 29, LD — 13gp, 0g, 3a, 3p
A back injury that ended his season in November certainly looms here but the former 2nd overall pick might have some hockey left in him. He has struggled to stay healthy over the past seven seasons.
We’re not sure what you’re getting here but it’s a PTO situation for sure.
Alex Edler, 6’4″, 209 lbs, 37, LD — 64gp, 2g, 9a, 11p
If he’s down, I’m down.
So yeah, there’s not a lot of defencemen out there…
This wraps up our update on who is available on a potential PTO.
Is there a name that sticks out from this list? Or have I missed someone that is of interest to you on a PTO with the Canucks?
Let me know in the comments!
I like Puljujarvi or Motte.
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