With free agency set to begin July 1st, the Hershey Bears begin the process of determining their roster heading into the 2012-2013 season. As part of a three part series, Inside Hockey will break down the free agent goalies, defenseman and forwards. Take a look and find out the chances of which free agent defenseman could return.
Marshall joined the Bears’ from the Philadelphia Flyers and immediately made an impact on the blue line. He brought a much needed physical and defensive minded style of play. His strengths include clearing opposing players from the front of the net and making the smart play over the fancy play. Marshall is a restricted free agent this summer and has received a qualifying offer from the Washington Capitals. According to Capgeek, Marshall held a cap hit of $845,833 last year and should be in for a raise around 1.1 million.
If signed, Marshall will spend the upcoming season in Hershey. Washington should be set with defensemen by the likes of John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Mike Green, Dmitry Orlov, Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine. Marshall only registered six points at the AHL level last season, five of them as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers organization. He spent the majority of his playing time for the Bears’ alongside Sean Collins who is an unrestricted free agent.
Contract: Expect Marshall to sign the qualifying offer, returning him to the Bears’ on a one year deal.
Collins hits the open market following a subpar year with the Bears’. He tallied ten points on the year, a far cry from his 20 point season in the 2010-2011 campaign. His right hand shot is useful, but with a younger Zach Miskovic also an unrestricted free agent and Capitals’ General Manager, George McPhee could go the youthful route. Although he played with a defensive minded Kevin Marshall, Collins should have posted far more points and sustained his offensive production.
Contract: Expect Collins to sign a two way deal with another NHL club or an AHL deal to become a mainstay on the first defensive pairing.
Miskovic rarely played this past season in Hershey, but saw time late in the year due to his right handed shot. He made an impact in the postseason, tallying two assists in Hershey’s five postseason contests against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. In the regular season, Miskovic failed to generate offensive production, registering only three assists in 35 games.
Contract: Expect Washington to give Miskovic one more shot on an NHL deal. Miskovic could sign elsewhere, but his production in recent years will not attract many teams.
Henry never appeared in one game for Hershey, coming over in the offseason from the Calgary Flames. Henry spent the 2011-2011 campaign with two clubs, the Abbotsford Heat and Chicago Wolves registering 11 points in 68 combined games.
Contract: Expect Henry to test the free agent waters, hoping for a two way deal.
Oreskovic rarely played for the Bears’ this year, spending the majority of the 2011-2012 season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League. He registered one assist for Hershey in his six games with the Bears’, used on the third defensive pairing. He played 56 games for the Stingrays’, tallying five assists along with one goal. Oreskovic plays a defensive, physical game and is often willing to drop the gloves.
Contract: Expect him to test the AHL free agent waters for a deal and finding none signing with an ECHL team.
The third and final part of the Bears’ free agent preview will focus on the Bears’ forwards.