The Hershey Bears had another successful season finishing with a record of 38-26-4-8, as they head to the playoffs. Bears’ fans saw a ton of new faces, including Garrett Mitchell, Cody Eakin, and Mike Carman alongside players on tryout agreements like David Civitarese.
Following the trade of Matt Ford, different players stepped up including Mike Carman who was used mostly as a fourth line center for the Lake Erie Monsters before he was acquired by Hershey. Newcomer, Ryan Potulny led the Bears’ in goal scoring with 33 in his first year after signing in the off season. The Bears’ struggled during the stretch run of the season in part to key injuries to forwards Graham Mink and Jacob Micflikier, but key rookies stepped up. Cody Eakin split time with the Capitals’ and Bears’ proving he could play the role of a first line center in the American Hockey League. Rookie forward, Garrett Mitchell most played on the third and fourth line but contributed several key goals including two shootout winners. Take a look below at the grades for each Hershey forward.
Cody Eakin: This draftee of the Washington Capitals has proved he can take on the role of first line center. In 43 games in Hershey, Eakin netted 13 goals along with 14 helpers. He’s been a key part of the power play and penalty kill, winning face offs and a great player in the shootout converting on six of nine attempts. Eakin plays very disciplined almost never in the penalty box with only 10 penalty minutes in the 43 games he played in chocolate town.
David Civitarese: Civitarese was brought in on a tryout agreement and has played the role of fourth line center very effectively. He has done a good job at staying out of the penalty box while contributing one goal in ten games.
Boyd Kane: Kane has done a solid job in the role of team captain while working on the power play and penalty kill. He led the team with a plus 12 rating along with 41 points on the season. His downfall in his game has been penalties, compiling 149 penalty minutes on the campaign which is high considering he rarely drops the gloves.
Andrew Carroll: Carroll missed some time due to injury but played a key role on the Bears’ penalty kill. He is a great teammate, helping mentor younger players such as Garrett Mitchell. Carroll is willing to drop the gloves as he registered 138 penalty minutes on the year. He can contribute offensively, but opportunities are rare on the third and fourth line.
D.J. King: King has been a disappointment since being sent down by the Washington Capitals. He has totaled only 4 assists in 29 games along with a negative seven when on the ice. Often either King or Rechlicz is in the lineup to bring a physical forward to the team.
Chris Bourque: Bourque has filled in greatly ever since Keith Aucoin was called up to the Washington Capitals. He led the AHL in scoring totaling 93 points, along with manning the point on the power play.
Keith Aucoin: Not many flaws are in Aucoin’s game, especially offensively. Before his call up to the Washington Capitals midway through the season, Aucoin registered 70 points in only 43 games.
Jacob Micflikier: In his first year with the Bears’ after signing in the off season, the former Charlotte Checker performed at almost a point per game rate posting 56 points in 57 games. Mickflikier will be needed on the power play as the playoffs begin, because he registered 13 power play goals during the regular season. The only flaw in his game has been his shootout, only converting once on nine attempts.
Joel Rechlicz: With a nickname of “The Recker”, you know what Rechlicz brings to the table. He is a physical presence on the fourth line when he’s in the lineup and is always looking for a fight. While he brings great energy to the game, Rechlicz often takes stupid penalties as he compiled 267 penalty minutes in only 44 games. He set a new career record for himself at the AHL level, registering two points on the season.
Christian Hanson: Hanson came to Hershey after two years with the Toronto Marlies, but has lowered his level of production. A late season injury cause him to miss a big part of year, but he only produced 21 points in 58 games.
Graham Mink: Mink put up another solid season in chocolate town, compiling 42 points in 48 games. Late injuries limited his production, but Mink played a key role on the Bears’ power play potting 12 power play goals.
Ryan Potulny: Potulny signed a two year deal in the off season with the Bears’ and has produced at an outstanding rate. He’s been a key factor on Hershey’s power play potting 19 of his 33 regular season goals on the man advantage. Potulny has been one of the best disciplined forwards on the roster, registering only 32 penalty minutes on the year.
Mike Carman: Carman was acquired from the Lake Erie Monsters in exchange for Danny Richmond and has been an effective forward on the Bears’ penalty kill. He has moved up and down the lineup, including a trip to the first line which he increased his production. In 32 games with Hershey, Carman compiled seven goals and five assists.
Matt Pope: Pope has primarily played the role of third line winger for the majority of the season, but his offensive production has been nothing special. He chips in a goal every now and then, but don’t expect a large raise in points in the playoffs or next season.
Garrett Mitchell: In his rookie year in Hershey, Garrett has been a great addition to the penalty kill and has proved he can steadily play on the third line. Mitchell racked up 15 points in the regular season, including two shootout winning goals and a big shorthanded goal. He has a ton of potential as he could potentially play on the second line in the future with the club and possibly find a roster spot with the Capitals.
Kyle Greentree: This season has been a disappointment for Greentree, only registering 11 goals in 50 games. In what could be his last year with Hershey, Greentree hasn’t brought the intensity that he brought in previous years. He often gets beat on the boards and does not offer much speed to his game.
T.J. Syner: Syner came to Hershey on a tryout agreement, adding speed to the lineup. He contributed only one point during the regular season, but brought good energy along with a fearless effort going to the net.