As August rolls on in the NHL off-season, training camp approaches rapidly for all the teams. General managers will be looking to finalize the rosters before camp and that will include professional tryout contracts, something the NY Islanders often utilize. In recent years, solid free agents have headed into September without contracts, spelling an opportunity for GMs to go bargain shopping, and sometimes the team signing a player to the PTO is not always the organization that ends up signing the player.
Last September, the Islanders brought defenseman Erik Gustafsson to training camp on a PTO. An offensive-minded defenseman was needed after the Islanders traded Nick Leddy that summer. Gustafsson had a solid camp with the Islanders, however, Lamoriello opted to let him walk and he then signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were a pretty awful last season, but Gustafsson posted a decent three goals and 15 assists in 59 games.
The Islanders have a history of bringing some prominent players into camp for a tryout. Some examples are Matt Carkner, Luca Sbisa, and probably their most impactful PTO turned full-time player, Dennis Seidenberg. Players such as the previously mentioned will settle for a PTO to showcase themselves, vying for an NHL contract with an organization.
With most of the NHL suffering salary cap issues thanks to the flat-cap era, some of the remaining unrestricted free agents may be PTO candidates, and there are certainly decent options. It has been quiet around all NHL activity recently, so the free agent market could now become a PTO market. Some business may be held up by the top remaining free agent, Nazem Kadri. Depending on when Kadri signs, and if it's with the Islanders, corresponding moves might have to be made.
The question becomes what will the Islanders do to shed salary in order to fit Kadri? If multiple roster players need to move out, could Lamoriello turn to the free agent market once more to sign a PTO or two.
Some PTO options remaining on the market include Sonny Milano, Phil Kessel, Paul Statsny, and P.K. Subban. It is possible that Lamoriello is playing the waiting game to grab a quality player for a bargain price the deeper we get into the summer.
The Islanders have a history of signing players to PTOs. It shouldn't come as a surprise to see one or two attending training camp this September. Andy Greene has yet to make a decision on the future of his playing career, and one can reasonably speculate that the soon-to-be 40-year-old defenseman could at least attend the Islanders' training camp one more time via PTO.