Thursday, July 3, 2014
Looking Towards 2014-15
I just spent a few minutes updating the prospective 2014-15 Bears roster page and thought I would discuss it a bit.
This team is looking pretty good. Although I say that every year.
The defense is probably just about set. With the Caps adding Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen they are now at 8 defensemen and that means guys like Tomas Kundratek, Cameron Schilling, Nate Schmidt, and Connor Carrick will be spending the majority of their time in 2014-15 playing for the Bears.
Add the newly acquired veteran Mike Moore and also Jon Layton to go with Steve Oleksy and Patrick Wey and you have 8 defenseman in Hershey that can absolutely play.
I wouldn't be surprised to see another 1 or 2 names on the blue line, but for the most part the guys that will play regularly are already on the roster.
Forward is an entirely different discussion as there are surely still some signings to announce, but there is plenty of talent in place already.
Dustin Gazley, Nathan Walker, Michael Latta, Casey Wellman, Stanislav Galiev, Chris Brown, Garrett Mitchell, and Dane Byers are all back. Although I do expect Latta to at the very least spend considerable time in Washington.
You also have a couple anticipated prospects moving up to the Bears. A couple of them, Caleb Herbert and Chandler Stephenson, got a taste of the AHL at the end of last season and both looked promising.
And then you have Andre Burokovsky. He is no lock to be in Hershey as he could go back to juniors or even make the Caps, but he seems to have a legitimate shot at playing for the Bears.
Oh and the Caps/Bears signed Chris Connor as well. He is a guy that is about a point per game player in the AHL but has spent considerable time in the NHL so we will see where he plays most of the year.
Is it an elite group? Probably not, but it's pretty good. But they aren't done for sure. I have only named 12 forwards and they will likely have 15 on the roster all season and a handful playing for South Carolina.
As for the goalies, Philip Grubauer is surely the #1 entering this season. The Caps/Bears traded for Eddie Pasquale to serve as his backup, but this is Grubauer's team for 2014-15.
So overall...a very promising roster is coming together. You have some puck moving defensemen that will be joined by some larger blue-liners and you have plenty of talent at forward along with some needed speed.
Add in a few veteran pieces (still a couple of veteran spots available) and some more offensive firepower and you have a solid team coming together.
I like it.