The training camp portion of the 2015-16 NHL season is upon us! As fans, these truly are exciting times. The passion is on full display when you go to Twitter or any Jets fan blog sites, including this one. Opinions rumble through like freight trains, questions and speculation abound as to why the Jets did or didn't sign this and that option. Why were certain players considered over others? What was involved in the decision-making process? Is a draft and develop youth movement in full swing because of on-ice reasons, or is it an internal budget at play? To what degree will work ethic and conditioning be deciding factor when determining roster spots? And with all this said, what's still missing? What are the needs of the team moving forward?
Typically, and this upcoming training camp is certainly no exception, PTOs (Professional Tryouts) are a normal sight. These free agents, sometimes coming from unexpected places around the globe, will have caught the attention of scouting departments and management for one reason or another. Rather than risk a contract and money on an unproven commodity, PTOs provide a safe avenue for evaluation. The player comes to camp and tries to wow the coaches and management with their play, hoping to secure a contract for the upcoming season and perhaps fulfill or continue their NHL dream. HFBoards has a great "scoreboard" if you will, of all the PTOs entering camps for their training and assessment period. So, who did the Jets bring in for camp? Let's take a look at a few possible diamonds in the rough the scouting staff has dug up....
1. Jiri Fronk
It's not confirmed that Fronk will be attending the Jets' main training camp, and EliteProspects has him listed as playing overseas in 2015-16, though without citing a source. I'm always looking on the bright side, so although he didn't receive a tonne of ice time in Penticton, I'm hopeful we'll get to see more of him at camp. With a good showing, I would expect that Fronk be inked and assigned to the Moose, where he might put in a good word for Cedar Rapids teammate Erik Foley.
2. David Leggio
Leggio, the wily vet. It's likely fair at this point to box him in as a career AHLer, and the expectation would be for Leggio to back up Hellebuyck with the Moose. It's an arrangement which will allow both Helle and Comrie to play big minutes without getting in one another's way.
3. Thomas Raffl
Here is the truly intriguing PTO! I honestly think that Raffl will be signed and assigned to the Moose, where he'll hopefully flourish on the smaller ice surface, push the play and score, all while protecting his fellow Moose. His reported lack of skating ability will also be less of an issue in the minors.
There you have it. Have the scouting staff picked up a few gems along the way? What do you think? Where do you see these guys fitting in? What are your hopes and expectations? Stay tuned Jets Fans!