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2009-07-16 at NOON

Pyatt looks for new team

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch
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Taylor Pyatt knows one thing about his hockey future – it won’t be continued in Vancouver.

The Thunder Bay native, an unrestricted free-agent in search of a new home, is coming off a 10-goal, 19-assist campaign with the Canucks, a season torn apart by the tragic death of his fiancée Carly Bragnalo, who died in an April 2 car crash in Jamaica.

Pyatt, a former first-rounder who has yet to fulfill his power-forward potential, isn’t sure where he’ll wind up in 2009-10, but he said he is confident it will be in the NHL.

"I spoke to four or five teams. There’s been no official offers yet, but there’s also lots of time before training camp starts, so there’s no real rush to make a decision," said Pyatt, on the sidelines nursing a surgically repaired knee, watching his fellow local NHLers take part in Tuesday’s Midget Kings alumni game at the Tournament Centre.

The 27-year-old wouldn’t name any of the teams, but did rule out a return to the Canucks, a team he spent the past three seasons with, scoring a career-high 23 goals in his first year, but steadily declining over the next two campaigns.

"I don’t think I’ll be back there this year. I really enjoyed my time there. The organization treated me great and my teammates were great to me, but I guess it’s time for me to move on," he said.

The eight-year veteran, who has 91 goals and 100 assists over his up-and-down NHL career, said he’s been around the block in the league, an attribute he’s using to shop himself to potential employers.

"I’ve got quite a bit of experience now, over 500 games, and I’m still only 27 years old. … I’ve still got quite a bit of hockey in front of me and I’m just going to wait to find a team where I feel like I fit in and hope to do that over the next few weeks."

Just who’s interested isn’t all that clear. A quick check around both mainstream news sites and blogger forums sees his name pop up occasionally, linked to San Jose in one, Nashville in another, but nothing concrete.

There are plenty of name wingers still on the market, notably Alex Tanguay, late of Montreal, and Todd Bertuzzi, who had 15 goals in Calgary last season and 255 for his career. Maxim Afinogenov is sure to attract attention too, despite a lack of production in Buffalo in 2008-09.

Pyatt believes he can still get better and become the player he was touted to be when the New York Islanders made him a first-round pick in 1999.

At 27, according to most experts, he’s just entering his prime.

"Everyone’s different. Some guys take a little longer to develop. But I’ve been in the league for eight years now, and still think I can bring a lot to the table," Pyatt said.

The 6-foot-4 left winger made $1.575 million with Vancouver last season.

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