Over the weekend we learned the Flyers invited 38-year-old defenseman and 15-year NHL veteran Hal Gill to training camp, which opens this Thursday already believe it or not. Given the problems the Orange & Black had in their own end last season, it’s good to see they are still looking into options even as the start of the season rushes forth.
Of course, Gill is only with Philadelphia on a tryout basis for now, and it seems likely that’s all it will be. A huge part of the problem the Flyers had last season were injuries, but as Tim Panaccio points out, the club’s blueliners (minus Chris Pronger) are all healthy heading into this year’s camp. With nine defensemen already competing for ice time, Gill has his work cut out for him.
No matter, says Gill. He tells Panotch he’s just happy for any opportunity to continue playing, and it sounds as though he’s prepared to find another sweater to wear once his time in Philly runs out. Per our CSN insider on Sunday:
“I think I can go in and do the best I can,” Gill told CSNPhilly.com. “I know throughout the year there is going to be changes. I am certainly not looking at it as a guaranteed spot.”
“My agents talked to [Flyers GM Paul] Holmgren and I’ve been looking for a contract and also trying to get into a camp and be competitive and get into some games,” Gill said.
“I’ve been talking to Holmgren. I can go in there and at least be a presence in camp. Be a veteran in camp and help out that way and get in some games. It works out that way.”
Gill played 32 games for the Nashville Predators in a condensed 2013 season, logging a minus-3 over a little more than 13 minutes of ice time per night. He’s clearly lost a step at this stage of his career, and was never much of an offensive threat. However, Gill may still be able to help a club in a limited role as a third-line defenseman, or even on the penalty kill.
That club probably won’t be the Flyers though. One of Homer’s big moves this offseason was to bring in Mark Streit from the New York Islanders, while the Flyers also have a bevy of young players in their system who could push for ice time this season or in the near future. But again, it’s good to see the team is willing to exhaust all possibilities.