By anyone’s standards, Tom Pyatt had a 2013-14 he’d like to forget.
The now 27-year-old suffered a broken collar bone in his first start of the season and spent the next two-and-a-half months on the sidelines trying to get healthy again. When he returned to the lineup in late December, it was with the expectation of a regular spot in the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup.
It never materialized.
Pyatt was a healthy scratch on many nights, including Tampa’s first two playoff games in what proved to be a four-game sweep at the hands of his former team, the Montreal Canadiens.
All told, the Thunder Bay forward only managed to find his way into 27 regular season games, scoring just three goals while adding four assists.
As a result, interest from other NHL teams in the unrestricted free agent has been scarce, with training camp only a few short weeks away.
Still, he holds out hope he can land a North American deal and play his way onto an NHL squad this fall.
“I’m just kind of being patient right now,” he said recently. “Last year wasn’t the kind of year I wanted to have. I had a bad injury there and didn’t play a lot. I didn’t re-sign with Tampa, so I’m kind of looking for a new job right now.”
There has been some activity said the five-year veteran, a fourth round pick of the New York Rangers in 2005.
“But right now it’s kind of like a quiet period. Teams just signed a bunch of guys and they’re kind of focusing on their restricted free agents right now,” Pyatt said.
“It’s the time right now to be patient and hopefully something happens in the next couple of weeks.”
How confident is he that he’ll earn an invitation to training camp? At this point, it’s up in the air.
“We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. I’m just trying to get another deal with another team and if nothing works out the way I want, there’s always Europe as an option or getting a tryout with another team.”
Older brother Taylor, a 13-year NHL veteran, says he’s close to signing either with a team in Swtizerland or the Kontinental Hockey League is Russia.
Asked if he’d consider going as part of a package deal, Pyatt didn’t rule it out.
“Maybe, I don’t know. It’s just too early in the summer to make a decision like that. Europe’s a thing you can decide on later in the summer or in the fall time,” he said. “My main focus is to stay over here in North America and play in the NHL. But if that doesn’t work out, Europe is always an option.”
Taylor Pyatt, for one, thinks Tom’s future is on this side of the pond.
“I think he’s got options in North America,” the 33-year-old said.
In 245 career games, Pyatt has 27 goals and 37 assists. He’s added another two goals and four points in 26 playoff games.
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