Things have been relatively uneventful over the past couple of months since the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs. There has been some news...player signings, players leaving, coach leaving...but nothing really big.
Well, yesterday the Bears named the 24th coach in franchise history. He is...Mike Haviland. He has won Kelly Cups in the ECHL, was named AHL coach of the year with Norfolk in 2007, and was an assistant coach in Chicago when the 'Hawks won their Stanley Cup in 2010.
He actually interviewed last season for the Caps vacancy, but was ultimately passed over. This past season he was an associate coach for Norfolk.
Tim Leone has some other information on him here, here, here, and here.
I am excited about it. I felt like a change was necessary to get some forward momentum in Hershey and hopefully this will bring that.
Personally, I am also excited about the roster that is taking shape. There is still lots of work to do come free agency, but the core that is in place looks pretty good to me:
I may be missing some names there but I am pretty certain that all of the above names are under contract for 2013-14. Obviously some of those guys (especially a defenseman or two) could end up in Washington, but all saw time in Hershey this past season and are at least possibilities in Hershey again next season. Patrick Wey is a solid NHL prospect who just finished up his senior year in college and should (SHOULD) get a chance in Hershey next season.
Let me also mention that Danick Paquette, Peter LeBlanc,
I really liked the roster that Doug Yingst and the Caps compiled in Hershey by the end of the year...I feel like, with a new coach and a fresh perspective, the roster above and the restricted free agents below should be an impressive group for the season.
Next Sunday is the NHL draft. The Caps need to move some pieces in order to sign players like Karl Alzner and Marcus Johannson to contracts for the upcoming season (not to mention a 2nd line center like Mike Ribeiro). Will that result in more talent in Hershey? Who knows. But it is worth watching.
Another name to keep in mind is Caleb Herbert. He is old enough to play in the AHL and seems to have some good skill to him, but still has college eligibility left so he may elect to stay in school.
Lots of news coming up in the next few weeks. I will do my best to keep you updated here on the blog. In the meantime, like the page on Facebook as that gets updated multiple times a week.