Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee provided journalists and hockey-deprived fans alike a bevy of personnel moves to discuss during the typically dull and agonizing hockey-free summer months of the off-season. The headlines were rightfully focused on topics such as the Semyon Varlamov and Eric Fehr trades, free agent acquisitions of Joel Ward, Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamrlik, Tomas Vokoun, and successful negotiations that brought key players like Karl Alzner and Brooks Laich back into the fold.
Easily lost in this fray is the amount of retooling the Caps and their AHL affiliate have done to help usher the Hershey Bears back into the discussion of preseason favorites for an AHL-record twelfth Calder Cup Championship. Along with the return of some familiar faces like goaltender Darren “Cheeser” Machesney, Graham Mink, Chris Bourque, Mathieu Perreault and Francois Bouchard, the Bears have added further depth with the signings of Ryan Potulny, Matthew Ford, and Jacob MicFlikier.
It was another depth signing for the Caps and Bears that caught my eye – a one-year, two-way contract with free agent center and Pennsylvania native Christian Hanson.