It looked as if Brooks Laich's career may be coming to an end last season. Stuck in the AHL, Laich expressed his desire to "pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else." The Toronto Maple Leafs placed him on waivers allowing other teams to claim him, but there were no takers. Finally, his season came to an end in April after elbow surgery. He had played in just 27 AHL games and none in the NHL.
But now it looks as if Laich will be getting another shot to show he can still contribute at the NHL level.
Brooks Laich was skating at today's informal workout and is expected to take part in #LAKings camp on a PTO.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) September 6, 2017
Laich, 34, told Joshua Kloke of The Athletic in February that, "Physically and mentally, I feel as youthful and as energetic as any kid that walks in the door. I feel like I’m younger than the 20-year-old kids. I have passion for the game. You might call me crazy, but I still feel like my best days of hockey are ahead of me. ... I still feel I have many, many years left to play.”
What will certainly help Laich's chances of making a return to the NHL is the fact that he is no longer dealing with a massive contract. In 2011, Capitals general manager George McPhee signed Laich to a six-year, $27 million deal. That $4.5 million cap hit became a hindrance to the Caps leading to the team trading him in 2016. That cap hit was far too high for any team to seriously consider taking a player who had been relegated to the AHL all season last year.
Now Laich will be heading to the Kings camp on a PTO with no guarantees or contract in hand.
Traded to Washington in 2004, Laich spent 12 seasons with the Caps scoring 133 goals and 324 points. He was a solid contributor until a groin injury he suffered while playing overseas during the 2012-13 lockout derailed his career. Prior to that, Laich played in 73 or more games for seven straight seasons with a career-high of 59 points. Since then, he has only played in more than 73 games once and his high in points is 24.
Laich will reportedly have some competition in Los Angeles as the Kings will also over PTOs to Brandon Prust, Chris Lee and Andrei Loktionov.