The Canucks announced Tuesday that they have signed UFAs James Sheppard, and Tuomo Ruutu to a PTO (Professional Try Out) contract.
10 year ago, in 2006 James Sheppard was taken ninth overall by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL Draft which was held ironically in Vancouver that year.
Fast forward to 2016, Sheppard is a 28-year-old veteran, who is looking for a home to continue his NHL career. The Halifax native been playing with Kloten in Europe, recording 11 goals and 14 assists in 37 games.
Sheppard has made use of his time in Vancouver this summer by skating with Canucks players and trying to earn an invite to the team’s training camp in Whistler
He holds NHL career statistics of 23 goals and 68 assists across 394 games spent with New York, San Jose and Minnesota.
Ruutu’s name has been floating around for some time and can offer great veteran depth at the forward position. However many teams have been hesitate to pull the trigger based on his recent production.
Last season with the New Jersey Devils, Ruutu had only one assist in 33 games. Ruutu is also the younger brother of former Canucks pest Jarkko Ruutu, who I am sure Canucks nation still remembers very well.
His best season was in 2010-2011 where he registered 57 points for the Carolina Hurricane.
Clearly his best days are behind him as a result of nagging injuries, but if he can stay healthy and offer a positive presence in the locker room, coach Willie Desjardin may just have a new weapon to use.
The Canucks open training camp on September 23rd.