Jackson Cates to attend NY Islanders training camp on a PTO

Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers
Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

As Zach Parise was the first thing on everyone's mind during NY Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello's pre-training camp press conference, the news wasn't exactly what fans hoped for. While Parise won't be present for the start of Isles camp, Lamoriello announced one new face will be attending on a PTO in Jackson Cates, a 25-year-old center formerly with the Philadelphia Flyers organization.

Cates, a 6'0, 190 lbs native of Stillwater, MN, played collegiately at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, making his NCAA debut in 2018 alongside his brother Noah. As the school came off its second Men's Hockey National Championship, the Cates brothers were an integral part of a Bulldogs' team, bringing a second consecutive and third championship overall back to Duluth.

Following the 2020-21 season, where he finished with 27 points in 28 games, Cates elected to turn pro, signing with the Flyers as an undrafted free agent.

Since then, Cates appeared in 20 NHL games and 102 with the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Debuting with the Flyers in 2021, he joined the team immediately after his season ended with Minnesota-Duluth. Throughout his NHL career thus far, Cates has only managed two points (one goal, one assist), while playing mostly a checking role with Lehigh Valley.

Cates has predominantly played center throughout his career and will have the odds stacked against him to make the Isles' roster with their depth at the position. He'll likely be playing for another opportunity in the AHL, as the Bridgeport Islanders can use additional veteran leadership in the lineup.

In no way a shoo-in to receive a contract, Cates will look to leave an impression on the Islanders' front office or other organizations throughout the league throughout training camp and pre-season. He could be an addition to the B-Isles checking line if he does not make the team out of camp or may have an opportunity elsewhere.