The Hershey Bears added some big names free agents earlier this week and continued to add to their roster heading towards the 2012-2013 season. The Capitals signed forward Ryan Stoa to a one-year, two-way contract. Stoa will likely spend his whole season in Hershey, possibly taking over the role as third line center.
Stoa, a 25 year old center, spent last season with the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. Stoa registered 16 goals and 20 assists with Lake Erie, along with 65 penalty minutes. He has spent all three seasons of his hockey career with the Colorado Avalanche organization, following his selection by Colorado with the 34th pick in the 2005 NHL entry draft. Stoa spent four years at the University of Minnesota, contributing 47 goals and 50 assists in 120 games prior to turning pro.
The 25-year-old center does have some NHL experience, contributing 7 goals and in 37 games for the Avalanche. He will bring valuable AHL experience as well, Stoa registered 55 goals and 54 assists in 177 regular season games for the Lake Erie Monsters.
The Hershey Bears are suddenly loaded at the forward position, virtually setting the top six forwards before training camp. Stoa should take over on the third line possibly alongside newcomer Alex Berry and Garrett Mitchell or Matt Pope. Joel Rechlicz and Graham Mink are currently unrestricted free agents and there is still a possibility they could return for the 2012-2013 with the Bears.