Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bears Cuts will be Difficult

The Bears have managed to score 12 goals and allow only 1 in their first two preseason games.  Obviously we can get excited about this considering the teams struggles to score the past couple of seasons, but it is still only preseason and the rosters are made up of many guys who won't start in the AHL. 

But it is a good sign.

Looking at the roster this morning I can say one thing for sure...

I am glad I am not in Doug Yingst and Mike Haviland's shoes right now.

Have you looked at the roster?  Only one word I have for it. 


Goaltending is solid and we all know that.  Philip Grubauer and David Leggio will be numbers 1 and 2 so long as their (and the Caps goalies) health stays good.

That's the easy part.

Now let's consider the defense.  By my count there are 12 defenseman in camp this morning.  Sorry to say but 3 guys aren't going to be there much longer.  Ryan Kavanaugh, Mike Banwell, and Erik Burgdoerfer will be heading home at some point. Nothing against them, but just consider the remaining 9:
  • Julien Brouillette
  • Chay Genoway
  • David Kolomatis
  • Cameron Schilling
  • Nate Schmidt
  • Patrick Wellar
  • Tomas Kundratek
  • Patrick Wey
  • Brett Flemming
Like I said...those 3 don't have much chance.

Oh and Tyson Strachan was placed on waivers yesterday and could (will likely) be in Hershey after noon today.

So that's 10 guys.  But wait, there's more.

Connor Carrick, Dmitry Orlov, and Michal Cajkovsky all remain in Washington.  It is looking more and more likely that Carrick is going to make the Caps, which is a story all its own, but that still leaves Orlov and Cajkovsky to be sent to Hershey.

So let's assume Carrick does make the Caps.  Which of the remaining 12 would you cut and send to Reading? 

Brett Flemming is probably tops.  But which of the remaining 11?  Seriously.  We haven't seen Cajkovsky or Wey yet as they are rookies, but Michal is still in Caps camp so that says something.  Wey is a highly regarded prospect that has won championships on many levels. 

But the Bears aren't going to keep more than 8 guys in Hershey assuming health. 

Crazy deep. 
  • Kolomatis scored 28 points in 46 games last year in Manchester. 
  • Strachan played 38 games for the Florida Panthers in 2012-13.
  • Genoway had 6 points in 12 games for Hershey after being traded here last year.
  • Schmidt had 4 in 8 and then played all 5 playoff games after finishing his college career last year.
  • Orlov was, not that long ago, considered a top prospect in the organization.
Point is, they can all play and some of them are going to be heart broken in Reading while others will get frustrated with the view from press row a couple times a week. 

This is a deep bunch and a very talented one.  With a new coaching staff there is no way to know who will be safe and who won't.  Allegiances are gone.  Familiarity takes time.  Guys like Wellar and Brouillette are fighting for their roster lives after finding some stability in recent years.

Hard cuts will be coming and the Bears will still be good.

And that was just the defense. 

By my count there are 18 forwards in camp right now and 3 left in Washington.  They are:
  • Josh Brittain
  • Nicholas Deschamps
  • Stanislav Galiev
  • Dustin Gazley
  • Jamie Johnson
  • Peter LeBlanc
  • David Marshall
  • Garrett Mitchell
  • Domenic Monardo
  • Tyler Ruegsegger
  • Brandon Segal
  • Ryan Stoa
  • T.J. Syner
  • Jeff Taffe
  • Nathan Walker
  • Matt Watkins
  • Casey Wellman
  • Derek Whitmore
And the 3 in Washington:
  • Dane Byers
  • Michael Latta
  • Joel Rechlicz
The Caps still have 17 forwards in camp and are expected to cut 3 of them.  Guess which three...yup, these 3.  Rechlicz has probably a 0% chance to make the camp while both Latta and Byers have a slightly higher chance, but not much. 

Ok. So that is 21 names.  12 can dress any given night and Hershey will probably keep about 15 around most of the time. 

So let's drop 6.  Can you do it?

Josh Brittain got hurt on Friday so he is probably one.  Monardo is a rookie that is signed in Reading. 

After that...who do you think goes?  It's not that easy.

Dustin Gazley?  Maybe (probably), but he scored 25 goals and added 60 assists in his last full ECHL season in 2011-12.  That's impressive, even for a guy that stands only 5'9" and weights 154.  I don't see his name on the scoresheet from the past two nights though.

David Marshall is under contract in Reading for this year.  But he is making it really hard as he recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick last night after getting in a fight and scoring (twice) and getting an assist (2 of them).  That's a good night and that follows a year last year which saw him go for 18 goals and 32 assists in 55 games with Reading. 

Maybe Tyler Ruegsegger?  He is a possible option for Reading I guess, but he is really making an impression on Coach Haviland in camp and also showed something this weekend so far getting 2 goals and an assist in the 2 games.  Plus he was teammates with former Bear Quintin Laing in Abbostford and says that Quintin taught him all about everything.  If he listens to what Laing taught him...I think he would do just fine in Hershey.

I sure as heck can't figure it out. 

As I said at the beginning, I wouldn't want the job Yingst and Haviland have right now.  They have to figure out which of the 30 some guys left in camp make the best opening night roster. 

It's a deep roster.  Is it championship caliber?  I will look into that and discuss that later this week. 

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