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Canucks to sign Prospal to tryout contract

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks plan to sign veteran free agent forward Vinny Prospal to a professional tryout contract with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Utica Comets, according to assistant general manager Lawrence Gilman.

Prospal, who turns 39 on Feb. 17, hasn't played this season, but has 255 goals and 765 points in 1,108 career NHL games, including 12 goals and 30 points in 48 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. He is expected to join Utica for Friday and Saturday games against the Abbotsford Heat, who play about a one-hour drive outside of Vancouver.

"We'll have the opportunity to watch him play, as will the other 29 teams, and at some point we may make a determination that we'll offer him a NHL contract," Gilman said.

Prospal played seven of his 16 NHL seasons for currently suspended Canucks coach John Tortorella - five with the Tampa Bay Lightning and another two with the New York Rangers.

The Canucks, who are missing injured centers Henrik Sedin and Mike Santorelli, could use his scoring touch after managing just six goals and two wins in the past six games, including a 2-1 loss against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

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