WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, the Washington Capitals, the Hershey Bears’ parent club, announced that the team re-signed forward Mike Sgarbossa to a two-year, two-way contract worth $775,000 at the National Hockey League level and $525,000 at the AHL level. In 60 games this season as the Bears’ top-line center, Sgarboss produced some of the best numbers of his career – 21 goals and 37 assists (58 points). In terms of production, his best two seasons came while wearing the Chocolate and White. The 2022-23 season is Sgarbossa’s fifth with the Bears, and his extension will give him seven with the organization, a rarity in today’s landscape.
The 6’0, 187-pound forward joined the Bears as a free agent signing for the 2018-19 season. That first year, he set new career-highs in goals, assists, and points with 65 (30 goals, 35 assists) as the Bears made it to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, where they were swept without him in the lineup. Sgarbossa was on his way to another impressive campaign a year later with 40 points in 39 games played, but the campaign was ultimately cut short with an impressive Bears group going by the wayside. He split the shortened 2020-21 season between the Bears and the Capitals’ taxi squad, while injuries and recalls limited him to just 30 games in Hershey and ten with Washington in 2021-22. It’s hardly a coincidence his numbers are similar to those he posted in his first year with the Bears with an entire season under his belt, skating with Mike Vecchione (who was extended for two more seasons by the Bears earlier in the year) as well as Ethen Frank.
Aaron Ness breaks up a two-on-one down low and sends the puck the other way for Mike Sgarbossa to bury his 19th of the season! #TORvsHER pic.twitter.com/avSeQSrddN
— Bears Hockey Nation (@HBHNationBlog) March 4, 2023
Sgarbossa is a lethal force offensively, skating on the top power-play unit and the Bears’ top line, going 28-3-3-4 when he recorded a point during the regular season. Not only has he been a lethal offensive force for the Bears in terms of lighting the lamp, but he’s also been a mentor and teammate to the prospects in the Washington system like Frank, Connor McMichael, and Hendrix Lapierre. The signing comes as the Bears start their Atlantic Division Final match-up with the Hartford Wolf Pack, where Sgarbossa already has three points (one goal, two assists) in four games preceding the series. His value will only continue to rise as the postseason rages on, and the Bears will have his services for the next two seasons.
Re-signing the productive veteran goes a long way toward securing a strong roster for the Bears next season. Sgarbossa, alongside Vecchione and Frank, entered the year with expiring contracts, and all three have been signed to extensions before the summer arrives. While there are certainly jobs available for young players in Washington when the puck drops in the fall, Capitals brass is keeping close tabs on the Bears’ playoff run, likely as an early audition of sorts for those who are already in the system. Sgarbossa is a player who adds value at any position he’s in, whether in the NHL or helping the development of the future Capitals stars at the AHL level while helping a franchise like the Bears contend for the Calder Cup. It’s a win-win signing for all parties to have him in the system for the next two years.
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