The Washington Capitals and more likely the Hershey Bears signed 2 players this past week. One will likely fill Alexandre Giroux's spot at left wing on the top line and the other will likely fill one of the many defensive openings. And then the Bears signed another defensemen to an AHL only deal as well.
Kyle Greentree will be the left wing. Last season he played for Rockford in the AHL, totaling 25 goals and 20 assists in 64 games. That was his third season in the AHL and his least productive season. In 07-08 he played with the Philadelphia Phantoms where he had 24 goals and 24 assists in 72 games. In 08-09 he was with the Quad City Flames where he registered 39 goals and 37 assists in 76 games. He has also played in 4 NHL games although he does not have any points.
Greentree is not Giroux and he is not going to replace Giroux's 139 goals over the past 2 seasons. BUT players routinely have career years playing in Hershey and playing with Keith Aucoin. Before coming to Hershey in 06-07 Giroux had a career high of 36 goals in one season. Before playing with Aucoin, Graham Mink's career high in goals was 31 (he hit 32 with Coiner). Before playing with Aucoin this past season, Andrew Gordon's career high in goals was 21 (he scored 37 this year).
Greentree will likely at least come close to his career high of 39 goals and 37 assists. And if he does that he will be one of Hershey's top performers. I can actually see him scoring even more than that if he and Aucoin stay healthy.
The other addition from the Caps side was defenseman Brian Fahey. Fahey is an AHL veteran having played in the league since 03-04. He played 12 games for the Bears that year and has played for 5 other franchises. Most recently he played for the Lake Erie Monsters where he registered 11 goals, 14 assists and 97 penalty minutes in 71 games.
With the Bears losing Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Greg Amadio they are going to need defensemen to step in. Fahey has shown some offensive abilities throughout his career so he should help out in that regard as well.
Hershey also signed former Bear captain Lawrence Nycholat to a one year AHL only deal this week. He spent last season with the Manitoba Moose after spending 08-09 bouncing between the NHL and AHL.
He was a critical member of the 05-06 Calder Cup Championship team and was an important piece the following season before being traded. Like Fahey he will bring a solid offensive component to the table to help replace Carlson. He also brings a certain leadership quality that always helps in the locker room.
Surely the Bears are not done in free agency. For one thing there are still restricted free agents out there including Gordon and Beagle. Surely there will be plenty of news coming over the next couple of weeks.
The Capitals resigned a couple of their restricted free agents this week which closes the door to potential roster spots for Bears. Eric Fehr, Jeff Schultz and Boyd Gordon all signed contracts this past week and will be in Washington next season.
That means there are now 10 forwards and 7 defensemen on the Caps roster next season. Fleischmann is the last RFA that spent considerable time in Washington last season and I would expect to see him get a contract soon.
Obviously there is lots of time left before the opening of training camp and the season but the rosters are starting to take shape. I will have much more next week about the roster. Also the development camp rosters were announced so I will have something on that this weekend or early next week.