January 1st was a big day for Caps fans. Not only was...
The Bounty of D-Camp – Vallorani, Wietecha Sign with Hershey
While the most publicized signing at the Capitals development camp was Filip Forsberg (even though he won’t see play in North America until at least 2013), the Hershey Bears did very well for themselves when it came to the invitees. Word may have broken over the weekend, but the actual signings didn’t take place until today. Here’s your quick & dirty on the latest additions in chocolate town:
Scott Wietecha (24 years old; 4 years NCAA & 1 year ECHL experience; 6′ 1″ & 203 lbs)
A Michigan man, Wietecha was the only college invitee at the 2011 Development Camp to make a return appearance without bearing an official connection to the Capitals/Bears (David Civitarese and T.J. Syner both signed with the Bears last spring, and attended this summer’s camp under Amateur Try-Out agreements).
Following camp last summer, he signed with the ECHL‘s Chicago Express (where he played with both fellow D-Camp invitee Brooks Ostergard (G) and Rob Madore, who made franchise history after signing with the Stingrays in the playoffs by winning a 4OT game the same day he signed with them). He had a solid year with the Express, despite missing the last four games of the season, earning 14 goals and 27 points – not too shabby for a blueliner.
Prior to hitting the ECHL, Wietecha spent four years with Ferris State University in the CCHA conference, where he earned praise both on the ice (including CCHA Defenseman of the Week) and in the classroom (FSU Dean’s Academic Award during his second and third years).
David Vallorani (23 years old; 4 years NCAA experience; 5′ 8″ & 181 lbs)
Ontario-born Vallorani helps to round out this year’s crop of undersized forwards, joining Syner and Barry Almeida on the smaller end of the Bears’ expected 2012-13 roster. All three come from Massachusetts-based NCAA programs in the Hockey-East conference (Syner from UMass-Amherst and Almeida from current-Champions Boston College).
As with most forwards his size who make the jump to the professional leagues, Vallorani has a healthy dose of speed to balance his stature, and he’s demonstrated remarkably consistent play over the course of his NCAA career. He earned at least 27 points all four years, and stayed healthy enough to claim ultimate iron man status – he took the ice for every game the team played during his collegiate career.
His knack for staying healthy came in handy during development camp, as players fell by the wayside in somewhat alarming numbers. According to Civitarese, at one point Group A/Team White was down to a single right winger, and Vallorani was one of the players who swapped jerseys mid-week to help rebalance the teams (he shifted from Red to White before Friday morning’s game, one of at least four players to make a switch).
Matt Clackson (27 years old; 3 years NCAA, 4 years AHL; 6′ 0″ & 205 lbs)
Signed by the Capitals to a two-way deal this past Saturday, Clackson is a more experienced free-agency acquisition than the two mentioned above. Given that his most impressive stat by far is his penalty minutes (193 in 2011-2, and 767 during the course of his AHL career), it’s a safe bet that he’ll be stepping into Joel Rechlicz‘s recently vacated pugilistic shoes on the Bears’ roster (congrats to Recker on signing with Phoenix).