There is still a long wait for the opening game of the 2019/20 NHL season, but teams will already be giving some consideration to their training camp rosters.
The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed Michal Neuvirth to a Professional Try-Out (PTO), with a view to seeing if he would be worth a contract as the team’s backup goaltender.
The Arizona Coyotes could look to take the same approach this summer, looking at players that could potentially provide some value on offence.
General manager John Chayka has recently spoken about ongoing discussions and looks at what is still available in free agency, showing that he may not be 100% content with what the team currently has.
Finding a guy that can help upgrade the team is Chayka’s job and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see some PTOs offered by the time training camp opens.
But out of the players currently available, who could the Coyotes give some consideration to?
Pat Maroon has been a player linked with the Arizona Coyotes before, with Chayka reportedly offering the veteran center a two-year contract just last summer.
As it turned out, he wanted to remain closer to his family in St. Louis and was rewarded with a Stanley Cup by the end of it.
His future with the Blues is currently up in the air and there could be reason to believe the Coyotes would still be interested in bringing the 31-year-old to training camp to see if he is worth another contract offer.
More on Maroon and the Coyotes’ previous and potential future interest can be read here.
Derick Brassard is coming off a season where he played for three different teams and registered just 23 points in 70 regular season games.
This is arguably the main reason that the sixth overall selection of the 2006 NHL draft has received seemingly little interest from around the league.
For the Coyotes, though, Brassard could be worth bringing into camp on a PTO to see if he still has much gas in the tank - especially as the Quebec native is still just 31 years old.
Despite registering poor points totals last season, Brassard still scored 14 goals while averaging just 15:00 on the ice.
Those 14 goals would have good for tied fifth top goalscorer on the Coyotes last season alongside Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller, and Richard Panik.
What could make Brassard an interesting option for the Coyotes is head coach Rick Tocchet’s preference in stockpiling centers across the line-up.
Tocchet believes that having players capable of playing center in other positions allows for more flexibility and adding Brassard could fit in with that philosophy.
His best years are behind him, but still being able to score goals could make him worth an risk-free PTO, as the Coyotes could just walk away if he really has lost his touch.
Another veteran player past his prime but still able to offer something to the Arizona Coyotes is Patrick Marleau.
Marleau had his albatross contract traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and was subsequently bought-out, allowing him to talk to any team he wants around the league.
It’s been well-publicized that the 39-year-old is hoping to return to San Jose, so he can end his career in the same place it started.
Prior to the Maple Leafs sending his contract to Carolina, there were rumblings that a deal was close between them and the Coyotes.
Marleau was reportedly willing to move to a team in the Western Conference so that, if he couldn’t return to San Jose, he would at least be far closer to what he and his family considered to be home.
If Marleau doesn’t receive a contract offer from the Sharks, who are also still weighing up options with Joe Thornton, offering the 21-year veteran a PTO with a view to a short-term deal could be an option for Chayka.
Marleau is on an iron-man streak of consecutive games played, scored 16 goals and had 37 total points in 82 games last season.
The Coyotes had a number of injury concerns last season and adding a guy that is capable of seeing out an entire season while potentially scoring the joint third-highest number of goals last season would help the team greatly.
His veteran presence and leadership qualities would also help the team’s younger players grow, with guys such as Barrett Hayton, Christian Fischer, and Lawson Crouse all younger than 23 and looking to take bigger strides in their careers this season.
There are a number of other free agents that could interest the Coyotes, but these three veteran forwards could certainly receive some closer attention from the organisation, even if it is just for training camp.