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With the salary cap sinking to $64.3 million this season, it shouldn't surprise anyone that a lot of aging veterans have had a problem finding both money and opportunities with NHL teams as free agents. There's no jobs and a lack of cash to go around, which has created the perfect storm of inopportunity for the likes of Ryan Whitney, Radek Dvorak and Mathieu Garon.
All three of those veterans have accepted PTOs—or professional tryout contracts—in an attempt to secure a job (any job) with a professional team. They are hardly alone, however.
According to CBS Sports, the Florida Panthers have extended PTOs to both Tim Thomas and Ilya Bryzgalov. The former was considered one of the best goaltenders in the world two seasons ago. The latter was considered the end-all-be-all to the goaltending woes of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Now neither can find work in the NHL.
The same goes for Vaclav Prospal, who led the Columbus Blue Jackets in scoring last season. Ditto for Brendan Morrow, who was a prized trade deadline pickup only a few months ago.
It's a tough time to be a veteran in the NHL, and more PTOs are likely to materialize as the preseason wears on and early injuries occur. Ron Hainsey couldn't find an open spot until the Carolina Hurricanes found out that Joni Pitkanen was going to miss the year, as per various outlets such as USA Today.
Carolina quickly signed the veteran defender to a one-year deal though. From the official site of the Hurricanes:
Ron is an experienced, two-way defenseman. He was very interested in joining our team this summer, and was patient as we waited for updated information about Joni Pitkanen’s injury. We are happy to be able to solidify our defense with a player of this caliber at this stage.
Hainsey is one of the lucky ones, as several longtime professionals are still out of work.