The Washington Capitals have jumped into the professional tryout market, by signing Jyrki Jokipakka to a PTO. Jokipakka played 41 NHL games last season split between the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators, and will try to earn his way onto another roster with a good camp.
Unlike some of the other PTOs around the league that have little chance of earning an NHL contract, Jokipakka enters a situation in Washington with some roster spots available. The Capitals lost Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk this summer to free agency and the Vegas Golden Knights, and didn’t have the cap room to replace them with established NHL talent. Instead, it looked like they were going to have to make a decision between some minor league veterans in Aaron Ness and Taylor Chorney, or younger unproven players in Christian Djoos and Kristofers Bindulis.
The Capitals are pressed right up against the cap after re-signing Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie this summer, and already had to deal Marcus Johansson to clear some room. Players like Jokipakka are opportunities to get NHL talent on minimum contracts, even if he’s not a game-changing talent. The team will have to rely even more on Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson unless someone steps up in camp and makes an impression.