The Hershey Bears took a plunge into Free Agent Frenzy yesterday, signing AHL veterans C Jeff Taffe, LW Jon DiSalvatore, RW Alex Berry, and D Steve Oleksy. Each player has the promise to contribute to Hershey in a big way this year:
DiSalvatore, 31, is a known leader, having spent the last three seasons as Captain of the Houston Aeros. He is also a steady contributor, with 9 straight 20-goal seasons. He is also a veteran of 6 NHL games, including 1 last season in Minnesota.
Taffe (pronounced “tayf”), 31, has posted 4 consecutive 50-point seasons in the AHL, including a 30-goal season and a 75-point season. Hershey fans most certainly recognize the name from when he was a Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguin from 2007-09. Taffe is also a veteran of 180 NHL games with the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, and 5 games with the Minnesota Wild last season.
Berry, 26, missed last season because of injury, but showed promising numbers with the Norfolk Admirals the year prior. It’s a sure bet he’s hungry to jump back in and contribute on the ice.
Oleksy, 26, is a tough defenseman who finished last season with a +16 rating and 15 points in 50 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Here at RtR, we’re focusing on one of the guys mentioned above, and for reasons very near and dear to us. Jeff Taffe is a big supporter of our favorite charitable organization, Defending the Blue Line – and as you know, any player who supports the military families of DTBL has our unwavering support.
Best of luck to all four next season!