Saturday, June 28, 2008

A look at the Caps draft:

A little overdue but here is a look at the Washington Capitals draft and what it could mean for Hershey in a few years.

1. Anton Gustafsson - Sweden - 6'2" 194 - center
  • was said to be the best all around Swedish player eligible for the 08 draft.
  • described as a highly skilled 2-way center.
  • will be playing in Sweden's 2nd best league in 08-09 and could be in the Swedish Elite League for 09-10.
I actually expect to see Gustafsson in Hershey at some point. I think he will be ready to come over in 2-3 years and will play one season as a Bear. Mainly because of the depth at center that the organization seems to be accumulating. A lot of it though could be gone depending on what the Caps do with Nylander and Federov in the coming seasons. But don't expect to see Anton for more than 1 year.

2. John Carlson - USHL - 6'2" 212 - defense
  • described as a Scott Stevens like player with better offensive skills
  • attending the University of Massachusetts beginning this fall
  • a question due to lack of quality competition
He has been playing in the USHL which is just not near as talented as any of the junior leagues in Canada. That could spell a year or 2 in Hershey. But I think of all the players in this draft, he will be the most likely to not appear in Hershey. The Caps are already waiting for a player like this. And with him going to college he could stay there for 4 years. Although he is expected to only play a year or 2. If he leaves college after next season then he WILL come to Hershey for a season.

3. Eric Mestery - WHL - 6'5" 195 - defense
  • more of a stay at home defensemen, but can skate fairly well for a big guy
  • needs to get thicker and stronger
We will definitely see him in a Bears uniform in a couple of seasons. I would say that he will be on the Black Aces come spring of 2010. And I think we could see him for multiple seasons. He is nowhere strong enough right now and needs to develop that in the coming years. But he could be a big part of the Caps future if he adds the muscle necessary and can keep skating fluidly.

4. Dmitri Kugryshev - Russia - 5'11" 183 - right wing
  • had almost as many points as teammate Filatov (6th overall pick) last season
  • is as talented as Filatov but not as fast
  • has 2 years left on Russian contract
He will be joining the Continental Hockey League this fall and depending on his development and the leagues growth in the next 2 years, we may or may not ever see him in North America. It is said that he wants to come play but money can do funny things. I would be kinda surprised to see him in Hershey, but it depends on how long he stays in Russia. If he comes over after 2 years than I think we could see him for a season or part of a season. But if he stays for another year or 2 than he will go straight to Washington, as long as he gets faster.

That takes care of rounds 1 and 2. The following players were selected afterwards and as long as these players stay in the system we will definitely see all of them in Hershey. And some will be in Hershey for an extended period.

5. Braden Holtby - WHL - 6'1" 205 - goalie

Holtby has a significant uphill battle if he expects to be a goalie in the Caps system. There are already numerous prospects that are developing nicely. He was rated the 4th best goalie from North America in the 08 draft.

6. Joel Broda - WHL - 6'0" 196 - center

A good 2-way center that could turn into a top 6 forward in the NHL. He really needs to develop consistency. If he doesn't than the best he will do is 3rd or 4th line.

7. Greg Burke - EJHL - 6'1" 185 - left wing

Seems to be a solid player. He had 21 goals and 25 assists last season in the EJHL. But that competition is even worse than the USHL. He has time to develop but has potential.

8. Stefan Della Rovere - OHL - 5'10" 196 - left wing

Not much out there on him. He looks to be either a career minor leaguer or a guy who gets to play in the NHL but is regularly a healthy scratch.

Obviously all of these players making it to Hershey requires that Washington and Hershey stay affiliated for many years. But I think it was a good draft for Hershey and Washington. There is a ton of talented players in the Washington system and we are just starting to tap into it in Hershey.

News and Notes:

  • Jamie Hunt and Stephen Werner were not offered qualifying offers and will become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
  • Doug Yingst was named AHL executive of the year, Congratulations Doug!!
  • The AHL has adapted a few new rules for the upcoming season, the biggest of which are these 3: teams can now dress 18 skaters per regular season game and 2 goalies, which is up from 17 and 2 the last few seasons; shooting the puck up over the glass from your own zone will result in a delay of game penalty (the NHL already does this); and at the behest of the NHL (meaning they want to see what happens) penalties in overtime, during the regular season only, will be 1 minute instead of 2.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sloan is back

Tyler Sloan has been resigned by the Hershey Bears for the 2008-2009 season.

Sloan played in 56 games last season. He had one goal and seven assists and was a +5 for the season.

He is a solid defensive defenseman that can play the body. Standing 6'3" and weighing in at 205 lbs, he is surely big enough to go against the big forwards in front of Machesney.

I am actually kind of surprised that he was resigned. I think the Bears would have signed Danny Syrvet before Sloan had he been available. It will be interesting to see if they sign any of the other defensemen now. Josef Boumedienne and Jonathon Paiement are still available and I think played better than Sloan this past season.

Also, Oskar Osala has signed a 3 year entry level contract with the Capitals. He played in Finland last season and is expected to be in Hershey for 08-09 and possibly beyond.