The Montreal Canadiens have not had the busiest offseason around the National Hockey League.
Their 2023-24 opening night roster does not look a lot different from a lineup they could have put together last season. There have been some minor changes, like Mike Hoffman and Rem Pitlick being traded away and Alex Newhook arriving via trade.
Other than that, a lot of the same young players like Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Sam Montembeault will play big roles again next season. There were no big free agent signings to boast about, and probably not a single free agent signing that will make the opening night roster.
Of course, there is still time so sign free agents and there are some interesting ones available even though the month of September has arrived.
We have landed at the point on the calendar when an unsigned player is more likely to sign a professional tryout (PTO) and not an actual contract for the upcoming season. That gives them an invitation to training camp but without the guarantee of being on the team when the regular season begins.
The Canadiens have done this before, and it ended up being quite successful. They invited Tomas Fleischmann to training camp in 2015. He signed an actual contract on October 4th, just before the regular season began after impressing in the preseason. He would score ten goals and 20 points in 57 games as a third line player and then get traded, with Dale Weise, to the Chicago Blackhawks for Phillip Danault and a second round pick that would become Alexander Romanov, who would become a 15th overall pick, which would become Kirby Dach… or something like that.
Either way, they added some free depth just before a bad season and turned it into a good prospect and a second round pick. Could they do that again this season?
There are plenty of options still available. Let’s look at three players that would make sense to bring in on a PTO.