I would like to take this opportunity to remember the men and women that lost their lives in the awful tragedy 10 years ago.
This is a day of reflection, but also a day that does require the occasional distraction. Here is a brief topic to mull over today. As we know, the hours till training camp are dwindling and every NHL team is penciling in lineup combinations. The last few years, a few stray free agents have found themselves jobs through the NHL training camp invitation. Some work out, and some fail quickly. Last year, Shane Hnidy had a good tryout for the Coyotes, but ended up hurting himself as the season approached. No need to feel bad for Mr. Hnidy, he picked up with the Boston Bruins and won a Stanley Cup.
With training camp days away, the Coyotes have most roster spots locked up other than some depth competitions amongst youngsters. Although it is a great thing for the organization to have the younger players step up, it is a good idea to have some veterans push them. The remaining free agents are not breathtaking, but can at the very least provide a push to the younger players in the Coyotes camp. The five most intriguing names are Chris Clark, Sergei Samsonov, Bryan McCabe, Chris Campoli, and Trent Hunter.
McCabe and Campoli are offensive defensemen that are surprisingly still without a job. McCabe would be good insurance for the power play point if Oliver Ekman-Larsson cannot handle the load. Chris Campoli is a very similar player to former Coyotes Sami Lepisto. Campoli has speed and elusiveness while carrying the puck up the ice. He has some mental breakdowns in the defensive zone, but you can live with it when he is a 4th or 5th defenseman on the depth chart.
I have always been a fan of Chris Clark. He is a gritty winger that provides excellent leadership, and Penalty Kill help. He is starting to age a bit, but still has enough speed to fit into the defensive system. Sergei Samsonov is a player with incredible offensive skill, but has not been able to put it all together in the recent years. He also has good speed, and could be a similar player in production to Radim Vrbata, if he buys into Dave Tippett’s defensive system. Trent Hunter has had a rough few seasons with injuries. He is a big body that provides great physical play. Hunter has an excellent slap shot, provided he has a chance to let it go. When Hunter is healthy, he could play a very similar role to Taylor Pyatt.