Ritchie has become a journeyman player, appearing with four different teams over the last four years. His nine-year career started with five years with the Dallas Stars, where he accumulated 54 points and 154 penalty minutes in 241 games. But at the end of this stretch, Dallas failed to qualify then-25-year-old Ritchie, making him a free agent and leading him to sign with the Boston Bruins. After one year in Boston and one trip on waivers, history repeated itself, with Ritchie failing to receive a qualifying offer and hitting free agency again.
That’s when Ritchie signed the first PTO of his career, inking one with the Calgary Flames midway through the 2020-21 season and earning a two-way contract. And for the first time since Dallas, Ritchie was even re-signed by a team, sticking with the Flames through most of the 2022-23 season. But at the March trade deadline, Calgary swapped Ritchie and Connor Mackey for Nick Ritchie, Brett’s brother, and Troy Stecher.
Ritchie stands at a menacing 6’4″, 215lbs, and works hard, making it clear why he’s stuck in the league thus far. He’ll now try to will his way onto another NHL roster in the Florida Panthers, who lack much competition for their bottom six. It’s likely that Ritchie will be competing with Grigori Denisenko and rookie Mackie Samoskevich. Denisenko has jumped between Florida’s NHL and AHL roster, yet to successfully find his footing at the top level. Samoskevich made the transition to professional hockey after the University of Michigan’s season ended last year, recording two assists in the two regular season AHL games he played and adding four more points in seven playoff games. The NHL readiness of both players is worth discussing, which could make it easier for Ritchie to achieve another successful PTO.