The Hershey Bears made two roster decisions that should build them a tougher, physical team in the 2013-2014 campaign, as the Capitals re-signed enforcer Joel Rechlicz to a one year, two-way deal and the Bears re-signed veteran Dane Byers to an AHL contract for next season on Wednesday. These moves came after the team announced their new coach Mike Haviland last week and General Manager Doug Yingst stated he wanted a tougher team next season at the press conference.
Rechlicz, 26, spent part of last season with Hershey, following a trade back to “Chocolate Town” late in the season in exchange for Matt Clackson. He’s played in in 76 career regular season games for the Bears, totaling three points and 404 penalty minutes, good for 44th in team history. Rechlicz will play a few shifts a game on the fourth line this upcoming season, and isn’t afraid to mix it up. He was the Hershey Bears American Specialty AHL Man of the Year for the 2011-2012 season.
Byers also re-signed with Hershey for next season, following a short time with the Bears after they traded for him last spring. He played for the Oklahoma City Barons for the majority of last season, before Hershey acquired him in exchange for defenseman Garrett Stafford on April 2nd.
He has 448 games of AHL experience, including 248 points and 945 penalty minutes. Byers should be a good fit on the third line and will be a good influence in the locker room for younger players. He was the captain of the Springfield Falcons in the 2011-2012 season and alternate captain for the Barons last year.
Hershey can begin signing unrestricted free agents on July 5th. They have re-signed forwards T.J. Syner and Jeff Taffe along with defenseman Patrick Wellar for next season. Ryan Potulny, Matt Pope and Mattias Sjogren and goalie Dany Sabourin all have signed with other teams, including overseas for next year.
Jon DiSalvatore, Boyd Kane, Jonathon Kalinski and Barry Almeida all have expiring AHL deals. Hershey Bears players on NHL deals set to become unrestricted free agents include Patrick McNeill, Joey Crabb and Mike Carman.
Hershey team needs include a backup goalie to mentor Philipp Grubauer, a veteran defenseman and a second line center along with forward depth.