Mason Raymond liked the opportunity, so he took a risk by going to the Toronto Maple Leafs' training camp on a tryout.
The Leafs liked what they saw out of the veteran left winger, so on Monday they signed him to a one-year, $1 million US contract.
"Based on Mason's play in the pre-season, we feel he fits in well with our group and will have a significant role on our team," general manager Dave Nonis said in a statement. "We agreed to terms over the weekend and look forward to him making a strong contribution this season."
Raymond is likely to slide in on the Leafs' third line. His signing adds welcome speed to the lineup.
The 28-year-old made $2.275 million last season for the Vancouver Canucks, when he had 10 goals and 12 assists in 46 games. After going unsigned during the off-season, Raymond chose to attend Toronto's camp because he stood a good chance of making the team.
"There's limited stuff you can control in this game," Raymond said recently. "One of them is how hard you work, and with the ice time you're given to play the best that you can play."
Given some ice time in pre-season games, Raymond was impressive. It looked like the back injury he suffered during the 2011 Stanley Cup final was past him.
If Raymond can put up strong numbers, he could cash in on a bigger contract next summer, when the salary cap is expected to rise.
For now, it's the 2013-13 Leafs salary-cap picture that is the major question. Raymond's deal is an affordable one, though there's little breathing room for Toronto under the $64.3-million limit.
Restricted-free-agent defenceman Cody Franson remains unsigned.