Hershey Bears veteran forward Graham Mink is set to become an unrestricted free agent following his return to the ice in the first round of the playoffs this past season. Mink returned to Hershey in the 2011-2012 season, following two years away from the organization where he registered 59 points in 68 games the 2008-2009 season. Even though he missed only a small part of the season due to the veteran rule and a brief concussion, Mink almost performed close to a point per game rate compiling 42 points in 46 games. He is back healthy for the 2012-2013 season.
Mink is one player the Bears’ should look to retain next season. They look to have a young roster moving forward and face the uncertainty of not knowing which forwards could start the season in Washington. Centers, Cody Eakin and Ryan Potulny will have an opportunity to make the Capitals roster in training camp. Potulny will be entering the second year of his two-year deal, holding a one way deal this upcoming season. If Potulny makes the Capitals out of training camp, he could be there the whole season due to a possible claim being placed on him if Washington attempts to send him to Hershey. Eakin on the other hand, is entering his second season of his three-year entry level contract.
Hershey needs to assure themselves that they have the proper offensive forwards. Both the third and fourth lines will not offering much offensively due to their youth and they type of players they are. Their offense is generated from their first and second line and their top-ranked power play. Mink would be a great player to fit in at the right wing on the second line, pairing him with Ryan Potulny or Cody Eakin at the center position and possibly Boyd Kane at left wing. Bears forward Garrett Mitchell had a great year in his first full season in the American Hockey League, but is not yet a player who’s role should be a twenty goal scorer.
Contract: Expect Graham Mink to receive another one year AHL contract with the Bears’ late in July. Hershey has a history of signing great players to AHL deal, especially ones in the back end of their career.
Below is a video of Graham Mink’s goal during the 2011 Teddy Bear toss at Giant Center