As training camps across the NHL open, many free agents still are looking for contracts. Several players, including former all-stars and Stanley Cup winners, have agreed to professional tryout offers in hopes of performing well during the preseason and signing a contract for the season.
Whether it's because of an injury or poor play, numerous players accepted PTOs in lieu of contracts hoping to make an impression. Last season, Scott Gomez signed a PTO with the New Jersey Devils and ended up being signed by the team in December. His 34 points in 58 games exceeded expectations and tied for third on the team while playing far fewer games than most of his teammates.
Here are the 10 players who signed PTOs who have the best chances of making their teams, according to NHL.com:
Ray Emery, Tampa Bay Lightning, G
With backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy sidelined 2-3 months after having surgery to remove a blood clot under his left collarbone Sept. 3, Emery has a good shot to beat out Kristers Gudlevskis, who has appeared in one regular-season NHL game, as Ben Bishop's backup. Gudlevskis was injured playing in a prospect tournament, but should be available during the preseason, according to general manager Steve Yzerman. Emery, 32, was 10-11-7 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .894 save percentage last season with the Philadelphia Flyers but is an 11-year veteran who won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 when he was 17-1-0 as Corey Crawford's backup. He likely will be signed by the Lightning to play in Vasilevskiy's absence.
Lubomir Visnovsky, Chicago Blackhawks, D
The Blackhawks have Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith on defense along with Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor Daley and recently re-signed Michal Rozsival. The loss of Johnny Oduya in free agency and not yet re-signing Kyle Cumiskey (who is on a PTO with the Blackhawks) has left a potential vacancy on the defense, which could be taken by Visnovsky. Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Rundblad are in the mix but have combined for 157 games of NHL experience; Visnovsky has played 883 games in his 14-year career. He had 20 points in 53 games with the New York Islanders last season, and while injuries always are a concern for the 39-year-old, a healthy Visnovsky could find himself on the third defensive pairing for Chicago.
Jonas Gustavsson, Boston Bruins, G
Gustavsson, 30, served as Jimmy Howard's backup with the Detroit Red Wings for parts of the past three seasons and played in 41 games in that span, including 27 in 2013-14. Last season, he was 3-3-1 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .911 save percentage, but sustained a shoulder injury and was overtaken by Petr Mrazek as the backup. No longer needed in Detroit, he could figure into the Bruins' plans. Tuukka Rask played in 70 games last season and Gustavsson may be a better option to replace last season's backup, Niklas Svedberg, than young goaltenders Malcolm Subban, 21, or Zane McIntyre, 23.
Derek Roy, Washington Capitals, C
Roy had one goal and 10 points in 26 games with the Nashville Predators last season but then had 11 goals and 22 points in 46 games after being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. The 32-year-old is a four-time 20-goal scorer who could make the team especially if center Nicklas Backstrom (hip surgery) is not healthy enough in time for the season opener Oct. 10.
Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh Penguins, D
Gonchar had one goal and 14 points with the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens last season. He's 41, but he has 220 goals and 811 points in 1,301 NHL games. With 102 of those goals coming on the man-advantage, he could provide insurance if power-play quarterback Kris Letang misses any time. The Penguins used 13 defensemen last season, and the veteran presence of Gonchar, who spent five seasons with the team from 2005-2010 and won a Stanley Cup in 2009, could come in handy.
James Sheppard, Columbus Blue Jackets, C
Sheppard, 27, may not be as gifted as others offensively, but that's not what he brings to teams. He split last season between the San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers, and had seven goals and 18 points in 71 games. Columbus has its top three lines pretty well established and Sheppard will have some work to do in camp and preseason to crack the roster. But he's more than capable of being a third- or fourth-line grinder who can add depth.
Martin Havlat, Florida Panthers, LW
Havlat played in 40 games with the New Jersey Devils last season and had 14 points. He's not the player he once was, but had 22 points in 48 games in 2013-14 for the San Jose Sharks and could get a vote of confidence in Florida from fellow Czech Republic native Jaromir Jagr. The Panthers have a fairly young group of forwards and it's not out of the question Havlat, 34, earns a spot.
Scott Gomez, St. Louis Blues, C
Gomez is an intriguing candidate to fill the roster spot of forward Patrick Berglund, who will miss at least the first three months of the season after having shoulder surgery Aug. 28. Gomez, 35, could improve upon his totals with New Jersey last season with better offensive talent around him in St. Louis, and is a faceoff specialist, taking almost 800 last season. Also working in his favor is that he's a former teammate and good friend of Blues assistant general manager Martin Brodeur.
Tomas Fleischmann, Montreal Canadiens, LW
After three-and-a-half seasons with the Florida Panthers, Fleischmann was traded to the Anaheim Ducks last season. His offensive numbers had declined each season with the Panthers, from 27 goals and 61 points in 2011-12 to seven goals and 21 points in 2014-15. Fleischmann had one goal and six points in 14 games with the Ducks and played in six games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 31-year-old could be of use to the Canadiens, who are unsure when left wing Max Pacioretty will be cleared to play from a knee injury he sustained in July.
Curtis Glencross, Toronto Maple Leafs, LW
Glencross, 32, was a reliable two-way player for the Calgary Flames who had back-to-back 20-goal seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12 but has struggled since then. The Flames traded him to the Washington Capitals prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline and Glencross had four goals and seven points in 18 games and one goal in 10 playoff games. However he struggled to fit in with the Capitals and was a healthy scratch at times. His poor performance down the stretch didn't help him earn a contract, but Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock may take a chance on Glencross if he performs well in camp and during preseason games. The acquisition Thursday of forward Michael Grabner from the New York Islanders makes Glencross' attempt at a contract that much harder.