Devils Sign Players to PTOs Ahead of Training Camp

The Devils have signed three players to professional tryout (PTO) contacts ahead of training camp and the preseason schedule starting up on September 22. These are unsigned veteran free agents who will attend camp hoping to land a job for the 2021-22 season.

According to a press release that I accessed through the Devils’ app, forwards Jimmy Vesey and Mark Jankowski and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon have inked PTO deals.

Vesey, a one-time highly sought-after college player from Harvard, split last season with the Maple Leafs and Canucks totaling five assists, five goals and ten points. He was drafted by the Predators in the third round (88th overall) in 2012 but chose to sign with the Rangers in 2016.

Over his time with New York, he had his best offensive season, notching 35 goals in 2018-19. In 2019, he moved to the Sabres. His career totals include 64 goals and 56 assists for 120 points along with 92 penalty minutes over 354 NHL games. He has a goal and four assists (five points) over 12 playoff games.

The Boston-native has been given number 16 for camp.

Jankowski spent last season with the Penguins where he had four goals and seven assists (11 points) over 45 goals.

He was drafted by the Flames in the first round, 21st overall, in 2012 and played three seasons in Calgary. The press release notes his career total of 40 goals, 35 assists (75 points) over 235 games at the NHL level. He also has 75 penalty minutes as well.

The left-shooting center, a Hamilton, Ontario native, who attended Providence College, will wear number 14.

Wotherspoon has played the majority of his pro career in the American Hockey League after being drafted in the second round (67th overall) in 2011 by the Flames out of the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League.

He has played for the Stockton Heat in the Calgary organization, the San Antonio Rampage (AHL affiliate of Arizona at the time) and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Flyers organization). According to the press release, he served as an alternate captain with Stockton and Lehigh Valley.

He has played in 433 AHL games and 30 NHL contests. In the NHL, he has five assists (five points). All of his NHL appearances have come with Calgary.

The Burnaby, British Columbia native will be assigned number 34.

Stafford Back With Devils on a PTO Agreement for Training Camp

Drew Stafford will be back for next season with the Devils. But only if he makes it out of training camp. The 32-year-old right winger today agreed to a professional try out (PTO) with the Devils and has been invited to training camp.

Stafford did not exactly set the world on fire last season with the Devils. He had eight goals and seven assists (15 points) over 59 games in 2017-18. He played in two games of the Devils’ five game loss to Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the playoffs as well.

According to the press release on the matter, the Devils initially signed him to a one-year, one-way contract on August 25, 2017. He was a free agent following this past season.

He has played in a total of 784 games at the NHL level with the Sabres, Jets, Bruins and Devils. The press release notes his career totals as 191 goals and 224 assists for 415 points to go along with 397 penalty minutes.

While some fans might not be happy with this, feeling that Stafford is done as an NHL player, you never know what you are going to get with a PTO. He could conceivably have something left in the tank and last year could have been an aberration. But you take a flyer on someone and if he makes the team, that means he showed management something. Otherwise, he does not make the team and likely retires. We will find out when training camp kicks off next week.