The Bears have finished their preseason games and will start the regular season Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre.
There are still some cuts to be made by both the Caps and the Bears.
The Capitals are rumored to be leaning towards keeping less than the maximum 23 players. They would probably keep 22 players to start the year, 14 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goalies.
The goalies are obviously set, Karl Alzner will probably be sent down to Hershey which would leave 6 on D, and Chris Bourque and Quintin Laing are the likely candidates to be sent from the forwards.
The reason for keeping less than the 23 is for salary cap reasons and for roster flexibility.
The only question amongst those cuts would be Laing who would have to clear waivers and it is unknown if he would or not.
The Bears currently have 25 players on the roster including 3 goalies, 9 defensemen, and 13 forwards.
This is a pretty fantastic roster for the opening of the 08-09 season. (assuming Bourque, Laing, and Alzner get reassigned)
In goal would be Daren Machesney, Michal Neuvirth, and Simeon Varlamov. There is no telling what happens here as keeping 3 goaltenders seems silly but two of them have been hurt already this preseason. Will the Bears stick with 3 or will one get loaned or assigned to South Carolina?
On defense it is a veteran group with Dean Arsene, Greg Amadio, Bryan Helmer, Sami Lepisto, and Tyler Sloan joining the younger players Grant McNeill, Patrick McNeill, Josh Godfrey, Karl Alzner and Sean Collins. I would expect either Collins or P. McNeill to be reassigned to South Carolina if Alzner does in fact get sent down by the Caps.
At forward there are many scoring options and numerous playmakers. Listed at center we have Keith Aucoin, Jay Beagle, Andrew Joudrey, Mathieu Perreault, and Kyle Wilson. And on the wings there is Alexandre Giroux, Andrew Gordon, Graham Mink, Oskar Osala, Steve Pinizzotto, Darren Reid, Michael Dubuc, Chris Bourque, Francois Bouchard, and Quintin Laing. Dubuc may also find himself in South Carolina or someplace else to start the year depending on other roster moves.
You are looking at a serious title contender for the AHL this season.
A little glimpse at possible line combinations:
Mink - Aucoin - Giroux
Bourque - Beagle - Gordon
Perrault - Wilson - Bouchard
Osala - Joudrey - Pinizzotto
Reid, Dubuc, and Laing are not even listed. And they could all start for sure!
Arsene - Godfrey
Helmer - Amadio
Sloan - Lepisto
Alzner - Collins
That doesn't include either McNeill and there is an extra pairing shown!
This team is DEEP and TALENTED!! Easily the deepest team in years and possibly the most talented. Even with some injuries this team should remain one of the best in the league. Hell the second forwards line I have up there could be playing for the Caps NEXT SEASON!
I am ready for the season and getting more and more excited each day!
LET'S GO BEARS!!!!!!
check back later as more roster moves from Washington are expected