With training camp fast approaching, NHL teams are taking one last look at the players that will be invited to showcase their skills. The Toronto Maple Leafs are dealing with young prospects looking to impress as well as returning members of last years roster.
The most interesting players at training camp may not fall in either of the aforementioned groups. That particular honour might go to the trio of players that have been brought into Leafs camp on a PTO, or professional try out. What makes these three especially compelling is that they are all NHL veterans who were not offered a contract in free agency this summer.
Devin Setoguchi, Curtis Glencross and Brad Boyes are all proven roster players. I break down what each might bring to the Maple Leafs as well as what the latest round of PTO’s means for the organization as a whole.
Devin Setoguchi, Forward
Setoguchi was the first player the Leafs contacted about a PTO. He is a former first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that has had a rough go in the NHL the last few seasons. His most productive season came back in 2008-09 when he put up 31 goals and 65 points in 81 games.
If Setoguchi can remained discipline and focused, he may be able to make the Leafs roster. Rediscovering his scoring touch would be a huge boost for the forward, who will really need to prove that he belongs in the NHL for the 2015-16 season. He provides speed and when focused, is a dangerous weapon.
"It's going to be tough, all the odds are stacked against me but I'm excited for the chance." – Devin Setoguchi on a challenging road ahead
— Sportsnet 2day w/Ben (@SnetToday) August 27, 2015
Curtis Glencross, Forward
Glencross has spent the majority of his career with the Calgary Flames organization. He was traded to the Washington Capitals last season to bolster their team before the playoffs. In ten post-season games this past year he only added a single goal.
The former Flame has his best season in the NHL with Calgary back in 2011-12 where he put up good numbers which included 26 goals and 48 points in 67 games. Glencross plays a physical style of hockey that will suit any team. He adds solid depth and also has a quick release that helps him contribute offensively.
Brad Boyes, Forward
The latest forward invited by the Maple Leafs, Boyes has a unique connection to the organization. He was actually drafted by the Leafs in the first round back in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He was then traded to the San Jose Sharks along with Alyn McCauley and a first rounder in 2003. The return for Toronto was Owen Nolan.
Boyes mostly recently suited up for the Florida Panthers. He has proven to be a productive and consistent forward throughout his NHL career. He could provide depth and veteran leadership to the Leafs roster. If he makes the team and has a good season, he could also be a very tradable asset for a playoff team looking to gear up for a run.
The Maple Leafs are making the smart choice to bring these players in on a PTO basis. It shows excellent management skills, as these moves are low-risk, high-reward type situations. It creates competition for jobs, with the winner being the clear cut best player.
It also gives the Leafs flexibility to move these types of contracts if the player in question has a good season. The Buds are first and foremost a rebuilding team aiming to get younger and acquire more picks and prospects. If any of these players are traded and bring in assets, they did their job. The Leafs front office appears to be managing the team in a smart and effective way. If that continues, the future looks especially bright for the proud franchise.