Gill on tryout with Flyers: 'A chance to play'

Gill on tryout with Flyers: 'A chance to play'

September 8, 2013, 8:00 am
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Hal Gill, a 38-year-old defenseman, has played for five teams in 15 NHL seasons. (AP)

At least Hal Gill is being realistic about what he is facing in trying to earn a contract with the Flyers on a tryout basis.
 
Training camp opens Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
“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.”
 
He has some long odds to beat given the Flyers' defense -- for the first time in quite a while -- is actually healthy and there are nine players on one-way contracts.
 
“I am going to do the best I can to impress people,” he said. “I am not looking at it as trying to get a roster spot. I am looking at it as a chance to play.”
 
The 38-year-old Gill signed a PTO -- pro tryout -- with the Flyers on Saturday (see story).
 
His agents, Mark Witkin and Peter Fish, spoke to general manager Paul Holmgren a few times recently about the tryout.
 
“My agents talked to 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.”
 
A 15-year veteran, Gill won a Stanley Cup with Max Talbot and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. His edge is on-ice competitiveness and leadership, but again, a lot seemingly would have to occur for him to win a spot, including injuries.
 
“It’s a younger league now and there is still a place for veteran leadership,” Gill said. “I can clear the front of the net and be effective on the penalty kill and make that first pass. And let the forwards do the job. That has been my role over the years. I don’t see my role changing any.”
 
Gill also has some familiarity with Wayne Simmonds and Ray Emery from some workout camps in Canada, but overall, the Flyers represent new territory for a defenseman who has skated for five previous NHL clubs.
 
“It’s a new team and a lot of new players I am not familiar with,” Gill said. “I usually don’t have a problem mixing in and having a good time playing hockey.”