HERSHEY, Pa. – Hershey Bears forward Mike Sgarbossa can do a bit of everything on the ice, and has proved over three seasons with the team he’s an excellent fit for the organization. Career numbers in 2018-19 and a brief stint with the Washington Capitals in 2019-20, it’s easy to see why the forward was a natural pick to serve on the taxi squad during much of the 2020-21 campaign. However, the Bears missed his services dearly in his absence.
At full health as well as a new two-year contract extension, Sgarbossa will once again be relied on as a leader when the puck drops this fall.
During his time in Hershey, Sgarbossa has found the scoresheet at an electric pace with a career-high 65 points (30 goals, 35 assists) which led the Bears in his first year in 2018-19. The count was 21 points higher than any of his previous professional seasons, an indication that playing in Hershey suits Sgarbossa well. He’s largely maintained that pace despite the various obstacles that have followed in the past two years, as he scored 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 39 games played before the 2019-20 season was halted in early March. Even in the unusual and irregular season played this spring, Sgarbossa had ten points in 14 games. Simply put, the Bears benefit from his presence on and off the ice, and it has a massive impact on the team.
A thing of beauty for Mike Sgarbossa! pic.twitter.com/7xltyJ0IPy
— Bears Hockey Nation (@HBHNationBlog) March 6, 2021
The Bears were able to find success in a strange period of time in which they played without a combination of Sgarbossa and Garrett Pilon or Phil Maillet and Brian Pinho, a quartet of players known for their key contributions in years past. Instead, the team relied on the expanded roles of players like Connor McMichael, Brett Leason, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, and Joe Snively, who all had to step up in their absence in the “next man up” mentality that former head coach Spencer Carbery preached. Those contributions are a big reason why Hershey was able to capture the best points percentage in the American Hockey League last year. Since Sgarbossa missed so much of last season, adding him back into the mix will be a huge boost to the lineup. The Bears will no doubt be hoping he can reach the heights of his past with the team, like those 65 points in 2018-19.
It would be a safe bet to see Sgarbossa continue his strong scoring and hopefully stay close to the incredible pace he has been on the past few seasons. He’s had notable chemistry with Pilon and Snively over the past few seasons, and his veteran presence is a big boost. He and Matt Moulson will be Hershey’s leaders in the forward group, and their lines will be tough to defend against for the team’s opposition. Both players had hit the 40-point mark at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season and were two of the team’s top three scorers. It’s safe to say they’ll have strong seasons from others to contribute to the team’s success.
Mike Sgarbossa = pure filth. ?
— NHL (@NHL) November 11, 2019
Hershey has been fortunate to benefit from Sgarbossa’s presence over the past few years. Not only has he been one of the team’s most prolific scorers, but become a leader who could very easily don the captain’s ‘C’ in his future. It would be easy to see him getting a recall to the Washington Capitals if the need would arise similarly to his brief stint a few years ago, and Hershey will no doubt be eager to have him on a more permanent basis than last year as they pursue the Calder Cup in 2021-22.
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