Curtis Glencross has been an interesting story this summer and it entered its next chapter on Monday, when he accepted a professional tryout offer from Colorado after being released from a PTO by the Toronto Maple Leafs just a day earlier.
In a lot of ways he's had the unwanted role of being the example of how unkind this summer has been to veteran players that have tested the unrestricted free agent market. That's due in part to the fact that he expressed regret for taking a hometown discount with the Calgary Flames (four-years, $10.2 million) in 2011.
“I love my time in Calgary and the organization, but you learn that eventually it’s a business and you’re just a number,” said Glencross back in August, per the Calgary Sun
“If I could do it again … as much as I love (Calgary) and call it home and met great people, at the same time, when it’s time for you to cash in, you have to take advantage and cash in. You can’t take a pay-cut or hometown discount because things change.”
Of course, if Glencross had gone on to have a stronger and healthier stretch with the Flames, he likely would be in a better position now, but it is also the case that some older, mid-level players have been pushed out in favor of younger, cheaper options as teams prioritize locking up their stars sans the now disallowed frontloading, cap-saving tactics, while simultaneously adjusting to a fairly modest increase in the ceiling.
The other side of this story is that Glencross coming to the Avalanche's camp might prevent Jack Skille, who is also on a PTO, from being a part of Colorado team this season.
All-in-all though, Glencross can at least take comfort in the fact that he's gotten another crack at an NHL gig. There are plenty of other veterans looking for work with some of the latest being Tomas Kopecky, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Daniel Paille after the Chicago Blackhawks released them from their tryout contracts.
Visnovsky stands out on that list just because at the age of 39, you have to wonder if his NHL career is over. Then again, perhaps he'll end up following Glencross' path by accepting another PTO. Boston will be without Dennis Seidenberg until mid-November while Los Angeles' Matt Greene and Jake Muzzin both sustained upper-body injuries on Sunday. Either team might be interested in adding a veteran defenseman to their camp for insurance purposes.
Still, for as many stories as there are about players getting cut or struggling to find work at this time of year, there are also plenty of players that have reason to be upbeat. Take Anaheim's Nick Ritchie for example. The Ducks being a team in win-now mode didn't enter camp with an obvious roster spot for Ritchie and even now it's likely he will not be with them for their season opener. However, he's managed to stick with the squad longer than expected.
“The development from last year to this year so far has been pretty good, for want of a better word,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the Orange County Register. “I think he’s more involved. He feels more like a player where last year, I think he was a little bit in awe.
“He’s using his size and his speed and his strength to his advantage."
Ritchie is coming off of another strong season in the OHL and he's someone that will be worth keeping an eye on as he could play a big role with the Ducks down the road, even if that likely won't be the case this season.
Dylan Strome in Arizona is another player that has survived a big round of training camp cuts, but unlike Ritchie, Strome might actually make the Coyotes. There's no guarantee of course, but unlike Anaheim, Arizona is a team that has plenty of openings for young players, although there's also a lot of competition for those spots.
The Coyotes, for as much off-ice drama as they've endured in recent years, could have a fun on-ice product to watch in the near future. They had the second worst offense in the league last season, but when you consider that their crop of forward prospects includes Henrik Samuelsson, Max Domi, Brendan Perlini, Anthony Duclair, and Christian Dvorak in addition to Strome, there is certainly the potential there for the Coyotes to feature a dangerous offense at some point down the road.
Of course, prospects don't always develop as teams' would like. Pittsburgh's Beau Bennett has become an unfortunate example of that. He was once seen as a potential top-six forward, but a combination of injuries and on-ice struggles have caused his stock to drop. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford even expressed regret back in April for not sending Bennett down to the minors to further his development before he became waivers eligible, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari
That being said, it's not as if all hope is lost for Bennett at the age of 23. He's having a strong camp after apparently doing some good strength-training work this summer. Perhaps this is the season that he starts living up to his promise.