Teams around the NHL are making their final preparations for a lockout. In a housekeeping move before 11:59 p.m. Saturday when the collective bargaining agreement expires, the Washington Capitals assigned 21 players to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
None of the names were all that surprising. The two biggest were defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby. Both would be with the Caps if the season started on time, but given the labor situation they should play big roles in Hershey.
Holtby was the team’s playoff hero last spring, putting up a 1.95 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. Orlov did not appear in the playoffs but played 60 regular-season games with the Caps after being called up in November.
Also assigned to the Bears were goaltenders Brandon Anderson, Philipp Grubauer and Dany Sabourin; defeensemen Brett Flemming, Tomas Kundratek, Cameron Schilling, Dustin Stevenson, Kevin Marshall, Patrick McNeill and Garrett Stafford; and forwards Stan Galiev, Mattias Sjogren, Ryan Potulny, Zach Hamill, Mike Carman, Garrett Mitchell, Danick Paquette and Ryan Stoa.
Expect some, like Anderson and Paquette, to end up with the Reading Royals of the ECHL. Galiev could shine in his first pro season, and Schilling should be a top-four defenseman with Hershey.