The Florida Panthers have announced that veteran forward Mark Letestu will join the team’s training camp on a professional tryout (PTO) contract.
The 33 year old center split last season between the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring nine goals and 23 points in 80 games. Just one season prior though in 2016-17, Letestu had a career year with the Oilers, scoring 16 goals and 35 points in 78 games. In total, the native of Elk Point, Alberta has 93 goals and 210 points in 558 career regular season NHL games.
Fan and media reaction to the news was pretty mixed, as most seemed to think that Letestu's body of work should have at the very least guaranteed him a one year "show me" deal somewhere in the NHL.
Wow, pretty good versatile veteran player settling for PTO ... could be a sneaky good add for #FlaPanthers
I can't believe Mark Letestu couldn't get a one-year offer in the $1 mil range. Very versatile player, vocal leader in the room. He'll make the Panthers.
Indeed, Letestu is a versatile player who can play the middle of the ice or on the wing. He's a face-off wizard and he's even shown flashes of offensive capability, particularly on the power play. As Kalman says above, this could be a sneaky good addition for the Panthers.
Read below for the full press release of the news, courtesy of the Panthers’ official website:
*SUNRISE, Fla. -*Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager *Dale Tallon* announced today that the Panthers have signed forward *Mark Letestu* to a professional tryout.
Letestu, 33, appeared in 20 regular season games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, recording four points (1-3-4) and 60 regular season games with the Edmonton Oilers, recording 19 points (8-11-19).
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound native of Elk Point, Alberta, has appeared in 558 career NHL regular season games for Columbus (2011-12 to 2014-15, 2017-18), Edmonton, (2015-16 to 2017-18) and Pittsburgh (2009-10 to 2011-12), producing 210 points (93-117-210). In 36 career NHL playoff games, Letestu has amassed 15 points (6-9-15).
Undrafted, the Western Michigan University alum (2006-07) was signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh on March 22, 2007.