Former 1st overall draft pick Owen Nolan feels like he still has something to give in the NHL. The Vancouver Canucks will give him an opportunity to prove it by signing the 39-year old forward to a tryout contract. Nolan last played in the NHL in the 2009-10 season with the Minnesota Wild, but spent last season playing in Switzerland with Zurich of the Swiss-A league.
If he is able to make the Canucks roster out of camp, Nolan would become the “last of the Nordiques“. Adam Foote was thought to be the last active NHL player to have played for the Quebec Nordiques, but his retirement last spring figured to extinguish all remaining active memories of the team. Nolan was selected first overall by the Nordiques at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, and spent 5+ seasons with the franchise before being traded to San Jose during the team’s inaugural season in Colorado.
Nolan’s chances at earning a spot on the Canucks’ deep roster seem slim on the surface, but as Jason Botchford of the White Towel notes; it’s not completely out of the question:
Nolan is 39 and it’s difficult to envision a scenario, barring a series of injuries, where he makes the team. If Brendan Morrison had slim chance last year, and some would say he had no real shot, what are Nolan’s chances? Not good. But they’re not zero.
Nolan’s last season with the Wild was a 16-goal, 33-point showing as a bottom six winger. In 1200 career games with Quebec/Colorado, San Jose, Toronto, Phoenix, Calgary and Minnesota Nolan totaled 422-goals and 885-points. Todd Fedoruk, he of 1050 career PIM in 545 games, will also attend Canucks camp on a tryout basis.
The Canucks have several players working their way back from injury, including Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson. Still, it seems like a long shot for Nolan to make it… but we’re pulling for him.