Top 15 Players on PTOs Who Should Retire

Every year, the NHL season kicks off with training camps, where hundreds of players report for the first time and management can run their tests, see who’s in shape and in what kind of condition, what players have developed over the off-season, and rosters start to come together. At camp, some players are just there to get into game shape and get ready for the upcoming season since they don’t have to worry about losing their place on the team. That’s probably the case for a lot of players.

On every team though, there are usually a few spots up for grabs, whether it’s on the bottom defensive pairing, or on third or fourth line, there are usually a dozen players fighting for the chance to make the NHL team. On every team, there are young prospects trying to make the team or players who have been on the verge of making the team, but have toiled in the minors, trying to prove it’s their time to be in the big leagues.

The problem for those guys though, is they’re not only competing against one another, but against players who have been signed to Professional Tryouts (PTOs) by NHL teams. Players on PTOs are usually NHL veterans who failed to sign as free agents during the offseason and who now have to win a roster spot in training camp.

There seems to be a rise in PTOs recently; it’s as though GMs have figured out, in a salary cap world, giving contracts to players who might not be any better than players already in their system is a terrible idea. Especially when some of these guys should move one with their careers and just retire.

17 15. Mark Fraser

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

16 14. Patrick Dwyer

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

15 13. Patrick Kaleta

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

14 12. Jonas Gustavsson

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

13 11. Aaron Johnson

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

12 10. Matt Carkner

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports


Carkner is 34 years old and spent part of last season in the AHL; he only played in 19 games. He last played in the NHL with the New Islanders in 2013-14, when he played in 53 games and amassed 149 penalty minutes. He’s only ever played one full NHL season. In 237 career games played, he’s scored 27 points and spent 556 minutes in the penalty box.

10 9. Peter Budaj

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

9 8. Sheldon Brookbank

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

8 7. Martin Havlat

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


6 6. Jan Hejda

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

5 5. Vitaly Vishnevsky


4 4. Eric Boulton

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

3 3. Douglas Murray

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

2 2. Scott Gomez

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1 1. Sergei Gonchar

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Gonchar spent last season splitting time between the Dallas Stars (only 3 games) and the Montreal Canadiens, scoring 14 points. The last time he played for the Penguins was in 2009-10 when he scored 50 points at the age of 35. The former all-star has had a great career, playing in over 1300 games, and he’s just shy of hitting the 1000 point milestone, needing 19 to get there. At 41, those days are long behind him though. The Pens already have a pretty set top-5 on the back-end, leaving maybe one open spot and Gonchar should be viewed as a long shot to claim it.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in NHL

Top 15 Players on PTOs Who Should Retire