This time of year, the unsigned free agents realize that a contract will not materialize before the start of training camps, so now it is time to accept camp invitations. Presumably, the New York Islanders have at least one outstanding invitation, unless it has already been declined by one of the guys who have decided where they will gear up for the season, as you’ll see in the Bits.
A couple interesting names who broke out last season, Evan Rodrigues and Sonny Milano, have not settled on which camp to attend. Since we’re just doing nothing, let’s speculate: Do we think Milano is still just home on Long Island for the summer and was skating at Iceworks, or do we think Milano is coming to Isles camp?
Sonny Milano recording his girl falling on the ice....behind the net says #isles— SF (@PolitIsles) September 10, 2022
This screenshot (from his Instagram story) probably represents just the former, but by this point in the offseason, a lot of players start trekking to where they will train this September.
I suppose that could more accurately describe signed players who generally know where they will live for the next six-to-eight months—and they’re going back to their in-season home to acclimate. I imagine when you’re a player bouncing around on PTOs, all that truly matters is making a team, and you’ll figure out the acclimation and all that if or when the time comes. They wouldn’t want to put the proverbial cart before the proverbial horse.
Thus, the smart conclusion is that Milano is maximizing his summer while still keeping his legs fresh (and, of course, spending time with his partner). But Milano is a pretty good player, and he grew up an Islanders fan from Long Island. For a team returning all the same forwards, a Milano PTO-turned-cheap-contract could be just what they need to push Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows.
- The NHL changed the time of five Islanders games, just in case you printed out the schedule the day it was posted. Only one of them is a home game, and it now begins at 5:00 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m. [Islanders]
- Josh Bailey at (almost) 1,000 games. That’s wild.
A stoic leader for @NYIslanders with his own fan-led song, veteran Josh Bailey remains focused on the job at hand as he approaches 1,000 NHL games: https://t.co/vwtEAeyJqL pic.twitter.com/KEGkya6YE1— NHLPA (@NHLPA) September 9, 2022
Beyond Long Island
- John Tortorella believes that there is a culture issue in the Philadelphia Flyers locker room, and it’s the first thing he plans to address in camp. I truly cannot wait to see the Tortorella and mediocre-at-very-best Flyers train get rolling. [NHL]
- Erik Karlsson denied any report that he asked the San Jose Sharks for a trade. I didn’t know that there was a rumor that he did. [NHL]
- 2021 no. 1 overall pick Owen Power will play his first full NHL season next year for the Buffalo Sabres, and my speculation is that he will not struggle to adapt to the NHL as much as Rasmus Dahlin did. [ESPN]
- Shane Doan has taken a “step back” from his role as the Arizona Coyotes’ Chief Hockey Development Officer. [Sportsnet]
- Call it the Maple Leafs-to-Oilers pipeline: Jack Campbell has followed in the footsteps of Zach Hyman, as well as Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci. [Sportsnet]
- The New York Rangers hired legendary goalie Henrik Lundqvist to a business operations role, which hopefully means I won’t see any more of him on my TV. He’s just so pleasant—it makes me sick! [The Athletic]
The Professional Tryouts Table
- Zach Aston-Reese signed a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs. [TSN] And he is probably going to make the opening night roster, too. [Sportsnet]
- Old friend Calvin de Haan decided to go to camp with the Carolina Hurricanes. You’ll remember that he left Long Island to sign a four-year deal with Carolina, only to be traded after the first year of the deal. Surprised he’d want to go back! [TSN]
- The Sharks signed Scott Harrington, who played all of seven NHL games last year, to a PTO. [TSN]