As mid-September is upon us, it's that time again when NHL training camps are open for business.
As players, coaches, and management gather together with the assistance from training staffs and equipment folks, it certainly seems like an exciting time.
While some teams will be awaiting the arrival of some new fresh faces—both on the ice and behind the bench as camps open—others will be still looking to secure a spot on an NHL roster come opening night.
Over the next few weeks, players will skate scrimmages, intrasquad games, and eventually participate in exhibition action with their respective teams.
There will also be those that are experiencing an NHL training camp for the first time, some heralded while others with no attention at all.
As the CBA landscape would suggest, there are more than a few players entering these training camps with no contract in place. These few players who have been invited to "try-out" to make these teams will certainly have to work hard, show their worth and hopefully get a bit of luck in order to get their name back on an NHL contract.
With the NHL being a "cost certainty" type of professional league, some of these players are hoping at the end of training camp that a few bucks are laying around for them.
Some players have walked-on to teams and not only signed a contract for that season but also made significant contributions to their new clubs; still others attended NHL camps and came very close to making it. Theo Fluery with the Calgary Flames was one such player who came close while players like Marc-Andre Bergeron and Miro Satan were signed by Montreal and Boston after the start of the 2009-10 season.
This season's batch of players looking from the outside are some familiar names and some older ones.
One of them is former Florida Panther first round pick who played nine seasons between Florida and Calgary.
Marcus Nilson left the NHL after the 2007-08 season and signed as a free agent in the KHL with Yaroslavl. The following season, Nilson moved closer to home by signing with Djurgarden in the SEL.
After two seasons away from the riggers of the NHL, New Jersey Devils invited the Swede to this season's training camp as a non-roster player a.k.a. on a "try-out" basis.
The upside is good for Nilson, should the Devils see value in adding him to the opening night roster. Nilson's league experience is the kind of stuff that Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has been know to favor.
Other notable players invited to NHL training camps on a try-out basis are as follows:
Adam Mair—500+ NHL games with Toronto, LA, and most recently the Buffalo Sabres is attending the New Jersey Devils camp along with Nilson.
Kyle Wellwood—five seasons between Toronto and Vancouver is attending the Phoenix Coyotes camp.
Bill Guerin—over 1,200 NHL games with various teams is included in Philadelphia Flyers training camp.
Former 50 goal scorer Jonathan Cheechoo is attending the Dallas Stars camp.
A trio of players, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexei Semenov, and Garnet Exelby are going to skate with the New York Rangers.
Veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja will attend the San Jose Sharks camp.
Enver Lisin and Kyle McLaren are invited to the Atlanta Thrasher camp.
While some former players return to try-out with their former clubs:
Dan Fritsche is skating in Columbus.
Brendan Morrison and Peter Schaefer are both in Vancouver.
Former Bolt Eric Perrin is back to try-out with Tampa Bay.
While we might not know how things in training camp will go for these players, one thing is for sure; they will all try their hardest to make these teams.
With a mix of veterans and rookies entering ever camp, it just might be these players who end up making the roster after all.
As training camp and exhibition games begin, let's not forget these names as they may make their way back into the NHL summaries for the 2010-11 season.
Best of luck guys!