Over the last few years, Hershey Bears fans have seen plenty of free agent moves. But none of the previous years had the emotional impact of the moves that have been made in the last 48 hours.
Former Bear Boyd Gordon goes to Phoenix
The first big signing related to the Bears was Boyd Gordon going to Phoenix. Gordon signed a two year contract worth more than $2.5 million. Gordon was one of the final remaining Bears from the 05-06 Calder Cup team still with Washington and the longest tenured Capital.
Bears sign Rochester defensemen Paul Baier
Photo credit: theahl.com
The Bears made their first pickup of the day with defenseman Paul Baier. Bears fans are sure to like Baier on and off the ice. He was named Man of Year in back-to-back seasons for Rochester and Binghamton respectively.
Former Bear Semyon Varlamov traded to Colorado
The Capitals organization’s first and only trade came on the first day of free agency when former Bears goalie Seymon Varlamov was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche for two draft picks. Varly left the Caps in a weird way as Owner Ted Leonsis would not name Seymon directly in his blog. George McPhee also said that Varly asked for the Caps #1 job in net and the Caps were logically unwilling to give him that spot.
Bears sign leading scorer in 2011 AHL Playoffs Ryan Potulny
The Bears would make the biggest AHL signing of the day with Binghamton superstar Ryan Potulny. The Senators forward helped his team to the Calder Cup championship and was the leading scorer in the playoffs with 12 goals and 23 points.
Bears sign Lake Erie center Matt Ford
At the exact same time, the Bears signed Matt Ford from Lake Erie. Ford had career high 26 goals with the Monsters and 42 points last season.
Tomas Fleischmann signs a 4-Year deal with the Panthers
Photo credit: LIFE.com
Another former Hershey Bear, Tomas Fleischmann , signed with the Florida Panthers getting a four year, $18 million deal. “Flash” lead the Bears in scoring during the 2006 Calder Cup playoffs.
Sheldon Souray signs one-year deal with the Dallas Stars
The Dallas Stars would also get a defenseman from the Bears. Sheldon Souray strange journey from Edmonton to Hershey now takes him back to the NHL with Dallas. He signs a one year deal worth more than $1.5 million. There were some rumors about Souray coming to the Caps, but he landed in Big D instead of DC.
Bears lose their captain, Andrew Joudrey, to Columbus
Hershey Bears Captain Andrew Joudrey leaves Chocolate Town and signs with Columbus. Joudrey has been in the Caps organization for the last five years, but saw no NHL action.
Defenseman Sean Collins re-signed by the Capitals
The Caps would give the Bears one more player signing Sean Collins to a one year deal. Collins saw playing time in Washington at the end of the season, during their short playoff run.
Former Bears’ Captain, Quintin Lang, signs AHL contract with Abbotsford
Former Capital and Hershey Bears Captain Quintin Lang signs an AHL contract with the Calgary Flames affiliate the Abbottsford Heat. Laing was a co-captain during part of the 06-07 season, to their Calder Cup fials run against Hamilton.
Chris Bourque is back in Chocolate Town
Day two of free agency started off with a bang for the Bears! The Caps brought back Chris Bourque. The Caps signed him to a one year contract. Bourque decided to take an alternate route last season, playing in the Swiss A league and the KHL. He is the only Bears player to have three Calder Cup rings in this chapter of the Caps affiliation.
Andrew Gordon signs with the Anaheim Ducks
But the day would quickly sadden, with the departure of RMNB blogger Andrew Gordon, who signed with the Anaheim Ducks. Gordon would sign a two year deal, with both years being a two way contract. Former Hershey head coach Mike Foligno is an Anaheim assistant coach so Gordo should get a good look in training camp to make their NHL roster. Here’s Andrew’s conversation with Tim Leone, where he speaks about leaving the only organization he’s ever known.
Steve Pinizzotto signs with the Vancouver Canucks
The Hershey Bears have lost another one of their top penality killers in Steve Pinizzotto. “Pinner” will leave Hershey after playing 4 seasons in Chocolate Town to go to the NHL Western Conference Champions, the Vancouver Canucks. Tim Leone of The Patriot-News has more here.
Alexandre Giroux gets one year deal from the Blue Jackets
Future AHL Hall of Famer and former Hershey Bears leading scorer Alex Giroux is still chasing his NHL dream. Sunday he signed a a one year, two way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Giroux was second in AHL scoring last year when he played with the Oklahoma City Barons, the Edmonton Oilers affiliate. He reportedly turned down twice as much in Europe to play in North America.
The Capitals sign defenseman Danny Richmond
On Monday, the Capitals announced the signing of Danny Richmond to a one year, two way deal. Richmond, 26, recorded 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) and 121 penalty minutes in 68 games last season with the Toronto Marlies. He finished the season ranked third on the team in penalty minutes and third amongst defensemen in points and assists. Wikipedia also tells us that he’s the son of retired NHL defensman, Steve Richmond, and was an honorary guest in the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade in 2010. And on September 30, 2010 Richmond received a Stanley Cup ring along with other Blackhawk players and staff at a private ceremony. You can also follow Danny on twitter here: @DannyRichmond7.
Goaltender Tomas Vokoun has signed with the Caps, meaning Braden Holtby will start the season in Hershey. The signing also put Washington over the salary cap limit. Expect a trade of some short to occur in the coming days.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.