Monday, September 26, 2011

First Look (guess)...Bears 2011-12 Opening Night Roster

Training camp has started, preseason games are coming up shortly.  Bears hockey is back!

Now we want to know which players we will be seeing in Hershey this season.  There are still decisions to be made by the Capitals that will influence that answer and the Bears themselves have many decisions to make before the opening night roster is announced.

But it is hard to do many preview issues without having a roster to base them on.  So in this post I am going to project the opening night roster.  Which will then be used when I preview the team in more posts discussing goaltending, defense, and then the forwards. 
I expect the Bears to open the season with 25 players on the active roster.  The NHL limits clubs to 23, but to my knowledge there is no such limit in the AHL.  Obviously you don't want 10 guys as healthy scratches so many players will get sent to South Carolina or their respective affiliates to begin their seasons.

I envision an opening night roster of 2 goalies, 8 defensemen, and 15 forwards.  It basically extends the 'preseason' a couple more games to give some of the fringe players a chance to prove something else. 

So without further jibber anticipated opening night roster:

  • Braden Holtby
  • Dany Sabourin
That was easy.  Barring injuries I don't see anyway these two start anywhere else.

  • Patrick McNeill
  • Sean Collins
  • Zach Miskovic
  • Patrick Wellar
  • Phil Oreskovic
  • Danny Richmond
  • Paul Baier
  • Julien Brouillette
One name missing from this list is Dmitri Orlov.  I expect him to start in the NHL while John Erskine gets into shape after offseason surgery.  They will want to see him compete at that level for a couple games to start the season.  IF Erskine is ready to go for game 1 then I don't see the Caps keeping him, but I doubt he is ready.

Otherwise this is a solid group.  No one stands out and there doesn't appear to be any weaknesses.  I wish I could put one of the young guys, Dustin Stevenson or Brett Fleming, on this list, but I don't see them beating out the veterans.  They will be early season call ups if there are injuries.

  • Keith Aucoin
  • Boyd Kane
  • Graham Mink
  • Chris Bourque
  • Ryan Potulny
  • Kyle Greentree
  • Matthew Ford
  • Jacob Micflikier
  • Christian Hanson
  • Cody Eakin
  • Francois Bouchard
  • Joel Rechlicz
  • Maxime Lacroix
  • Andrew Carroll
  • Garrett Mitchell
First of all, as I said last week, I think Jay Beagle and Mattias Sjogren make the Caps.  That eliminates them from this list.  Secondly, I don't think Mathieu Perreault clears waivers.  I know he is small and there are questions about his consistency, but there are teams in the NHL that would love to take a chance on a playmaker with his skills.  I think he gets a shot.

You will notice that I don't think Bourque gets picked up on waivers though.  Remember that there wasn't a lot of interest in him a couple years ago and then he played last season overseas.  Teams aren't going to want to save a roster spot for a not so young, small forward that had a shot and didn't make it. 

After that there aren't many surprises.  I think Danick Paquette has a legitimate chance to make the team but I am not certain he has the versatility of a Carroll or Lacroix.  And I think Mitchell is going to be given a shot at the AHL level to see if he is ready.

David de Kastrozza and Tyler Stefishen are destined for South Carolina to open the season. 

Keep in mind that most adjustments after this will be small in effect.  Bourque and/or Eakin could beat out Beagle and/or Sjogren for a spot in the NHL.  Maybe a camp invitee shines and gets an early look by the Bears.  None of those are really going to change too much in my positional previews or the expectations for the club.

The only potential move that could really shake things up would be if Perreault does clear waivers and comes to Hershey.  But that would be a very good change and any effects on Hershey would be positive ones.

So, there you have it. I will check back once the official opening night roster is announced to see how I did. But this will give me a good basis for my preview posts coming soon.

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