HERSHEY, PA – The stormy waters of player transactions churned up by the Salary Cap, NHL Expansion Draft and Free Agency are calming. The dust is settling and the picture for the 2017-2018 Hershey Bears is getting a little clearer by the day. Hershey’s NHL affiliate in the Washington Capitals has all but wrapped up it’s offseason moves. We have a chance to see where things stand with 72 days to go until opening night.
First off let’s take a look at who WILL NOT be returning this upcoming season to this point.
Paul Carey – signed a one year, two-way deal with the New York Rangers organization.
Stanislav Galiev – signed a two year deal with AK Bars of the KHL in Russia.
Domenic Monardo – signed deal with HC Bolzano of the EBHL (Austria)
Darren Dietz – signed one-year deal with Barys Astana of the KHL.
Tom Gilbert – signed with the Nurnberg Ice Tigers of the DEL in Germany.
Now for all those who have signed or are in the midst of contracts for the upcoming season. Intentionally left out guys vying for NHL jobs. We’ll discuss them a bit later.
*Means a player requires waivers to be sent to Hershey.
** Means the player counts as an AHL Veteran.
Dustin Gazley – re-signed to one-year, AHL deal for 2017-2018
Captain Garrett Mitchell – re-signed to one-year, AHL deal for 2017-2018
Chris Bourque – re-signed to one-year, AHL deal for 2017-2018 with mutual option for 2018-2019 **AHL Veteran status
Zach Sill is entering final season remaining of his two-year, two-way contract with Washington. *Requires waivers **AHL Veteran
Liam O’Brien – re-signed to two-way one year NHL deal with Washington for 2017-2018 *Requires Waivers to be sent to Hershey
Kelly Zajac – re-signed to AHL deal for 2017-2018.
Hampus Gustafsson – entering first year of two-year NHL Entry level contract in 2017-2018.
Garret Pilon – entering first year of three-year NHL Entry level contract in 2017-2018.
Hubert Labrie – re-signed to one-year, AHL deal for 2017-2018.
Aaron Ness – entering final year of two-year, two-way deal NHL deal in 2017-2018.
*Requires Waiver **AHL Veteran
Colby Williams – entering first year of two-year, entry-level NHL contract with Washington
Lukas Johansen – entering first year of three-year entry-level NHL contract with Washington
Jonas Siegenthaler – entering first year of three-year entry-level NHL contract with Washington.
Pheonix Copley – re-signed to two-year NHL Contract with Washington. Two-way deal in 2017-2018, one-way in 2018-2019.
Vitek Vanecek – entering second year of three-year entry-level deal with Washington
Parker Milner – re-signed to one-year AHL deal with for 2017-2018
Adam Carlson – entering final year of two-year Entry level deal with Washington
Mathias Bau Hansen – read about him here. Signed AHL Deal for 2017-2018.
Wayne Simpson – signed one-year, two-way deal NHL with Washington. Set an ECHL record for playoff points with 38 in 27 games with ECHL South Carolina in 2014-2015.
Tyler Graovac – traded to Washington from Minnesota. One-way NHL contract in 2017-2018 but likely to be in Hershey. *Requires Waivers
Anthony Peluso – signed one-year, two-way deal with Washington for 2017-2018
John Albert – signed one-year, two-way deal with Washington for 2017-2018. ** AHL Veteran
Major or Minor?
The way things have shaken out it looks as though the Capitals have as many as five spots up for grabs at the NHL level (two D and Three F). The following are returning players that may be Washington bound.
Travis Boyd – With 63 points last season Boyd looks to earn a spot with the Caps. The center re-signed with Washington on a one-year, two-way NHL deal with Washington for 2017-2018.
Riley Barber – Entering the final year of his three-year, NHL entry-level deal with Washington. He should be in consideration for a spot in Washington come training camp.
Chandler Stephenson – Signed a two-year deal with Washington. Two-way in 2017-2018, one-way in 2018-2019. Chandler earned praise and call ups for his skating ability and will be in the running for a spot with the Caps.
Nathan Walker – The Fan favorite is looking to be the first Aussie born player to make the NHL. His ability to play Center and Wing caught the attention of the Capitals who recently signed him to a two-year, two-way NHL Contract. Capitals Coach Barry Trotz specifically mentioned him as a player who was “NHL Ready.” *Requires waivers to be sent down
Jakub Vrana – Entering the second year of his three-year, NHL entry-level deal with Washington. Despite battling issues with consistency and his 200-foot game, Vrana is most likely to be a Capital when training camp breaks due to his offensive skill set. He does not require waivers to be sent down if need be.
Devante Smith-Pelly – Washington’s newest project who they believe has “untapped potential.” They hope to catch lightning in a bottle from the twenty-five-year-old. He signed a one-year, two-way deal with Washington but is likely to start the season with Washington.
Tyler Lewington – After thrusting himself onto the scene in 2015-2016 between South Carolina and Hershey, Lewington solidified his place as a defensive prospect in 2017. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan has mentioned Tyler as a player who will compete for one of the two spots on the Capitals blue line this season. Lewington is in the final year of his three-year entry-level deal with Washington.
Madison Bowey – A devastating injury early in the 2016-17 campaign may have put Bowey down a peg or two but come playoff time he began to regain his form. Bowey is still considered to be one of Washington’s top defensive prospects and will likely be a Capital come opening night in October. He’s entering the final year of his three-year NHL entry-level deal with Washington.
Christian Djoos – Christian had an amazing 2016-2017 season for Hershey. He tied for the AHL league lead among defenseman with 45 assists and was tied for 12 overall among skaters with 58 points. The outstanding seasoned earned him a new two year deal with Washington. He looks to be in line for one of Washington’s defensive spots, especially with some gained muscles. Waivers will affect his placement as well. Two-way in 2017-2018, one-way in 2018-2019. *Requires Waivers
Stay tuned to The Sin Bin for more offseason updates as we draw closer to the season.