The Springfield Falcons announced today that they have signed former New Jersey Devil, Jay Pandolfo to a Professional Tryout Agreement. The 2010-2011 season marks Pandolfo's fifteenth as a pro, the previous fourteen all with the Devils organization.
By his own admission, he struggled through an injury plagued 2009-2010 campaign. "Definitely. Last year I tried to play through a shoulder injury all year," he told The Star Ledger newspaper. "It didn't work out. I'm getting healthy this summer and I feel when I'm healthy I'll be fine." Pandolfo's long struggle started with a hit by Mike Rupp October 24, 2009 in Pittsburgh. Since a successful off season surgery to repair his rotator cuff, he has been ahead of his recovery schedule.
Among Pandolfo's successes have been his 1995-96 season at Boston University, where he netted 38 goals and went on to be named the Hockey East Player of the Year in addition to being named to the NCAA All-American Team. Jay was also part of Stanley Cup championship clubs in 2000 and 2003. He had his best playoff performance in 2003 when he scored six goals and added six assists in 24 games.
The pro tryout agreement is used often in the AHL. It affords a club an opportunity to have a player step in, showcase his talents and hopefully, be picked up for the long haul. Over the last few seasons, the Falcons have had several players join the club on PTOs. What we've typically seen here is a player (usually, from a lower level league) gets a chance, usually because call-ups or injuries have depleted the lineup. So far this season, the Falcons have not had an overwhelming amount of either, making the signing of a proven NHLer somewhat curious.
The Falcons return to action Friday night at the MassMutual Center in Springfield when they host the Hartford Wolfpack at 7:30PM. Springfield closes out the weekend with two road games; Saturday night they travel to Syracuse to take on the Crunch. Many of this year's Falcons played in Syracuse last year as the Blue Jackets AHL affiliate at the time was the Crunch. The weekend closes out Sunday afternoon in Worcester, MA against the Sharks for a 3PM contest.