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Canucks give Vinny Prospal an AHL tryout

Jan 24, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT

vinnyprospalgetty Getty Images

For many, it’s surprising that it took until late January for Vinny Prospal to get at least a shot at resuming his NHL career, but it looks like the Vancouver Canucks will give him a chance to prove he can do it.

The Canucks announced that they signed the veteran winger to a PTO, allowing him to try out with the AHL’s Utica Comets.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis said that Prospal might get 8-10 games to prove himself and that the opportunity opened up thanks to some injuries for the team, according to Sportsnet Pacific.

Beyond his quietly impressive production (at least for an unemployed hockey player), the most interesting aspect of this situation is his relationship with John Tortorella, who coached him with the Rangers and Lightning.

Gillis notes that Torts “likes him a lot,” even though the 38-year-old memorably gave this slightly NSFW interview about the fiery coach back with Tampa Bay on Feb. 12, 2008.

While Prospal’s lack of speed is a frequent critique, he’s found a way to be an underrated producer. He’s a seven-time 20+ goal sorer, including 33 in 2007-08. He also peaked with 80 points in 2005-06 as a member of the Lightning (while also generating 79 and 71-point campaigns in his career).

It’s not all in the past, either, as only Rick Nash (59) scored more points than he did in Columbus (55) during the 2011-12 campaign.

Maybe you don’t break the bank for a player like that, especially at an advanced age, yet he seems like he’s worth a shot.

… And that’s not just because he might have another memorable confrontation with Torts.

  1. stakex - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    He actually played pretty well last year (12g, 18a for 30p in 48 games)…. its borderline shocking the best he could do is an AHL tryout in January, despite his advancing age.

  2. canada2014gold - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    I don’t mind the interest but if this is Gillis’s answer for the Canucks offensive woes BC is in for a wild ride.

  3. MichaelD - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:18 AM

    I don’t think Prospal is suppose to be anyone’s answer. They need a reliable offensive player to fill the gaps left open by their injuries. He’s a proven player in the past and most likely a steal because of his age. As long as he can hit the net he’ll be an upgrade to what’s going on now. I hope to see him in the line up soon.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Is this Michael D Gillis, by any chance?

  4. dprouse - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Wouldn’t Prospal have to clear waivers once the Canucks sign him? Maybe the rules changed with the new CBA, but I believe that if you sign a veteran free agent after the season starts, he has to clear waivers before you can put him on your roster.

    • killerpgh - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      Pretty sure that is only true if a player is playing in a pro league overseas after the NHL season starts.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Beat me to it.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      No, that rule is only for players who have been playing hockey overseas after the start of the NHL season. Nabokov (St Petersburg) and O’Reilly (Magnitogorsk) are recent examples, although O’Reilly didn’t have to clear waivers if he was returning to the team that held his rights and he’d played with the previous season.

      Since Prospal hasn’t been playing anywhere (until the AHL starting tonight) he won’t have to clear waivers if he signs an NHL contract.

  5. 950003cups - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I’m sure “Discount Lou” will sign him to the Devils in a week.

  6. elvispocomo - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    And it’s all moot anyways since Prospal has announced he’ll retire rather than accept an AHL PTO.

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