Sorry about my absence the past couple of weeks but I have a good excuse...my wife and I welcomed a future Bears fan into the world last Sunday evening. Everyone is healthy and we are looking forward to winning the small fry of the game this season!!
Now on to some Bears news.....
So what has happened in the past 10 days....the NHL draft, qualifying offers sent, and free agency began.
For the most part the only thing Hershey fans are concerned with for the upcoming season is the qualifying offers. Sure the draft is a big part but we won't see any of those players in Hershey until at least next season and more likely 2-3 years down the road. And free agency hasn't really impacted Hershey yet either. Eventually the Bears/Caps will be involved to fill up the Hershey roster but right now guys are trying to land NHL contracts.
But the qualifying offers do effect (or at least could effect) the roster next season. 5 Bears were RFA's and 3 of them got offers. First to the two that didn't...Andrew Joudrey and Daren Machesney....good luck to both of you. Hopefully you both get 2-way deals with another team for this upcoming season.
Now to the 3 that did...Chris Bourque, Steve Pinizzotto, and Kyle Wilson. Bourque is still a wild card in my opinion because he has earned a chance in the NHL but Washington really doesn't have any room for him on the left wing (Ovi, Semin, and Flash play left). IF he accepts the offer then he might be trade bait for the Caps. They still need a solid 2nd line center and Bourque might be packaged with something to get one.
The other two I expect will be back in Hershey. I don't see either gambling and turning down their qualifying offers (Bourque might) as neither are viewed as top notch prospects. Personally I hope both end up in Hershey as they both bring something to the table. Last season (07-08) Wilson was an excellent first line center. This season his numbers dipped slightly which was to be expected playing on the second line.
Pinner is obviously the kind of player everyone wants on their team. A great team guy who will do whatever is necessary to win, block shots, fight, and take the body regularly. The thing most people don't know is that he is actually very talented at the offensive end as well. Playing on the fourth line only offers a few chances but in juniors he averaged almost 2 points per game, in college it was over a point a game, and in the ECHL he averaged almost a point per game. So he can produce if asked to. I would hope to see that side of his game (maybe a 2nd line winger) this season if he returns.
That is really all the news for now though. Hopefully in the coming weeks we will learn of more players signed by the Caps/Bears. I would suspect that by the first couple weeks of August the roster will be pretty much in place minus a player or two.
Next up on the slate though is the Capitals developmental camp in DC. The event is from the 13th-18th and will feature many of this years draft picks and last seasons along with players like Perrault and Bouchard. I will have as much on this as I can as it gets closer. As soon as the official camp roster is finalized I will have it for you here.
Oh and the camp is open to the public and features a game on the 18th that would be worth checking out if you can go.