After naming a new coach and signing veteran forward Jamie Johnson, the Hershey Bears signed three players to contracts for the 2013-2014 AHL season. The deals were announced on Monday, as General Manager Doug Yingst signed forward Matt Watkins, defenseman Tyson Strachan and goalie David Leggio.
Watkins is only 26 years old, and was the Captain of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season, totaling 30 points in 68 games. He’s played in 253 career AHL games, recording 123 points. He has one career NHL game, for the Phoenix Coyotes in the2011-2012 campaign. Watkins was signed with the Capitals on a two-way deal, and is an unrestricted free agent following the season.
Hershey filled a need in goal, signing former Buffalo Sabres product David Leggio. He’s on a NHL contract for next season, but will play in Chocolatetown for the whole year unless net minders Braden Holtby or Michal Neuvirth get injured in Washington. He played for the Rochester Americans the past two years along with 38 wins including nine shootout wins last season. Leggio posted a 2.56 goals against average and .924 save percentage in Rochester last year.
Strachan played in the Florida Panthers organization last season, spending time in both the NHL and AHL. The Ohio State alum totaled four assists in 38 regular season games for the Panthers, along with 40 penalty minutes. At 28 years of age, Strachan totaled earned nine points in 24 games for the San Antonio Rampage. He also signed an organizational contract, and will become a UFA after this season.
Hershey could look to add another forward in free agency, but Yingst is likely done with big name signings. Former Bears’ defenseman Patrick McNeill signed a one year, two-way deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets and former Hershey forward Andrew Gordon signed with the Winnipeg Jets.