Hershey Bears Re-sign Gazley And Burgdoerfer For 2015-16


Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed it earlier this morning, the Hershey Bears have re-signed RW Dustin Gazley and D Erik Burgdoerfer to one-year AHL contracts for the 2015-16 season. For Caps’ fans who are wondering, you most likely will not see either of these players in Washington. Both players are on AHL contracts so they won’t play in the NHL unless they are given two-way contracts with the Caps. However, that doesn’t mean you will never see them. Remember Steven Oleksy? He was only signed to an AHL deal before earning his first NHL contract, so you never know what may happen. Either way, the Hershey Bears’ fan in me is pretty happy about these re-signings.

Here’s a look at each player returning to the Hershey Bears next season:

RW Dustin Gazley 

Dustin Gazley – Hershey Bears Photo Credit: Tori Hartman

From the Hershey Bears’ release

"Gazley, 26, is coming off of a career-best season in the AHL.  Dressing in 72 games, the native of Novi, Michigan notched 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists), 36 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating.  He finished tied for fourth on the Bears in goals, sixth in plus-minus and fourth in games played.  In the postseason, Gazley led the Bears and tied for the overall playoff lead with two shorthanded goals.  He added two assists for four points in 10 Calder Cup playoff contests. The 5-9, 165-pound forward has posted 53 points (26 goals, 27 assists) in 114 games in Hershey.  He also dressed in 29 games with the Binghamton Senators in 2012-13, putting up nine points (four goals, five assists).Gazley’s ECHL career spanned parts of four seasons with the Greenville Road Warriors, Elmira Jackals and Reading Royals.  He has a total of 152 points (47 goals, 105 assists) in the ECHL, which included a league-leading 85 points (25 goals, 60 assists) in his rookie year of 2011-12.Prior to turning pro, Gazley played four years of collegiate hockey with Michigan State University (CCHA), where he totaled 73 points (30 goals, 43 assists) in 153 career games."

Head Coach Troy Mann’s take on the Gazley resigning (via PennLive):

"“He’s had a career season here with 18 goals and minimal power play time, very minimal power play time. He’s established himself as a real good PK guy and a guy that’s very flexible within the lineup.”“You need depth to win. I think it was a no-brainer in terms of trying to have him come back. I think he’s capable of 20 goals. I think he should have had 20 goals this year if he’d shoot the puck a little bit more.”"

Dustin Gazley on re-signing (via PennLive):

"“I was offered a good opportunity this year and had a pretty good season here under the coaching staff. They treated me well here. It was an easy decision to come back to Hershey for another year.” More from Hershey BearsHershey Bears win Calder CupBears drop Game 6Bears back in Coachella Valley for Game 6Bears go up 3-2, one win away from Calder CupBig Game 5 looming for Bears“It was a long road coming. I started in the East Coast. I’ve been trying to work hard and work my way up as much as I can. I was fortunate to do that this year. It’s been good for myself for that. Hopefully, I can keep climbing.”"

My thoughts: I’m really happy with this re-signing for the Hershey Bears. I believe Dustin put up a fantastic season, and his numbers (18-20-38) don’t lie. He’s not a very big player, but he can definitely get the job done. As Troy Mann mentioned he’s great on the penalty kill, and his speed can really help him cut down the ice on shorthanded opportunities. I’m glad Dustin will be back for the Hershey Bears next season, and I hope he continues his career with another great season.

Erik Burgdoerfer

Erik Burgdoerfer – Hershey Bears Photo Credit: Tori Hartman

From the Hershey Bears’ release:

"Burgdoerfer, 26, recently completed his first full AHL season with the Bears.  Dressing in 58 games, the 6-1, 209-pound native of East Setauket, New York posted seven points (one goal, six assists), 58 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating.  He scored his first AHL goal on January 3 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and notched one assist in 10 Calder Cup playoff contests.Burgdoerfer also appeared in three games with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons in 2013-14, posting one assist.Entering his sixth professional season in 2015-16, Burgdoerfer spent the majority of his career with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors.  In 269 games, he racked up 75 points (22 goals, 53 assists), which included a career-best 11 goals and 22 points in 2013-14.  Burgdoerfer also served as alternate captain in 2013-14 and helped the Condors to their longest playoff run in team history – a 16-game venture into the Western Conference finals.Prior to turning pro, Burgdoerfer played four years of collegiate hockey at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ECAC).  With the Engineers, Burgdoerfer recorded 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 129 career games."

Head Coach Troy Mann’s take on the Burgdoerfer re-signing (via PennLive):

"“He’s a guy that moves his feet very well. He’s a mainstay on the PK. He’s one of our top PK guys.”“I think he’s a guy that’s just going to continue to get better. I felt real good leaving Washington in September, when you had guys like Barry Trotz taking notice of him during training camp there. It’s a great story and we’re happy for him.”“Their work ethic and their drive to get better is so good that they’ve earned themselves NHL deals. I think Burgy’s got this next season to take the next step. I hope he makes a great impression in Washington again in September and earns himself an NHL deal here next summer.”"

Erik Burgdoerfer on re-signing (via PennLive):

"“I’m happy to be back to the most storied franchise in the American Hockey League.“You can just never give up. Keep working hard and do the right things and eventually you get rewarded. This is not my end goal, so you’ve just got to keep working. Hard work pays off eventually. I think that’s anyone’s goal who’s in this business is to make it to the highest level.”"

My thoughts: Again, very happy with the Burgy re-signing. I think he is a great guy, and it’s great to see guys make it to the next level. I honestly thought he would get a deal with the Caps this season. I’m surprised he didn’t because I feel he could be a great recall. Troy Mann brought Burgdoerfer with him from Bakersfield, and now I understand why. He’s just a solid d-man, not very flashy with the offense, but solid, and to be honest, that’s how I like defensemen.

I’m happy with the re-signings thus far. I’d imagine there are some more to come as well some new signings. What are your thoughts? Let us know what you think on Twitter or in the comments below!

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