Mason Raymond, other free agents landing training camp invitations

Raymond had 10 goals and 12 assists last season in Vancouver. (USATSI)
Raymond had 10 goals and 12 assists last season in Vancouver. (USATSI)

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A lot of players who would have otherwise been signed to contracts weren't this summer with the salary cap going down. That has meant there's some decent talent available on the free agent market and now that's meaning invitations to training camps.

Mason Raymond is one player who received an invite, his coming from the Maple Leafs. The former Canucks forward is a surprise to me that he hasn't found a job in the NHL and I see no way he'll find one in Toronto considering they're already tight against the cap with two players left to sign. If nothing else, though, it's insurance against a Nazem Kadri holdout for GM Dave Nonis, who drafted Raymond in Vancouver.

Invitations were also handed out to Hal Gill (by the Flyers), Ryan Whitney (Blues) and David Steckel (Wild) all in the past couple of days with many others as well, those are just the more high-profile names.

In the case of Gill and Steckel, I would like their odds to make each of those teams. The Flyers are always looking for defensive help and while Gill wouldn't bring much mobility or youth at all, it might not hurt to see what he's got. Steckel is just a good player that goes unnoticed because he doesn't do the things that make players stars. He's a good defensive player and is good on the draw.

Whitney might find his way on the roster in St. Louis but he would appear to be the contingency plan that GM Doug Armstrong was alluding to when discussing the ongoing negotiations with Alex Pietrangelo. The longer that goes without a deal, obviously the greater the odds Whitney will turn the invitation into a spot on the team similar to Raymond in Toronto.

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