Hershey Bears Lose Two Blueliners to Alberta

Allen PopelsCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2009

The Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals lost some defensive depth Tuesday when Dean Arsene and Staffan Kronwall both signed with NHL clubs in Alberta, Canada.

Arsene, 28, nicknamed the "Mayor of Hershey", signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Edmonton Oilers. He had spent the last six seasons in Chocolatetown and had shown a desire to remain with the team. However, he was looking for an NHL deal, and with numerous Capitals prospects in the system, that wasn't an option here in D.C.

"I talked to Doug (Yingst) before I left," Arsene told pennlive.com. "He said he wanted to have me back. I was honest with him. I said I would love to be back, but it has to be an NHL contract. I wanted to get my chance, like everybody else."

The picture above tells the perfect story of the type of player Arsene exemplifies: A tough, hard-nosed defenseman that'll put his body on the line for his team. He'll surely be missed by teammates and fans alike.

"It's tough to kind of fathom," said Arsene, "It's difficult to think that I'm not coming back to Hershey. To come and play in a different jersey is going to be very surreal. I had a good run in Hershey. I didn't want to leave. I guess it's the nature of the game."

Kronwall, 25, signed an undisclosed deal with the Calgary Flames. He came to Washington as a waiver claim from Toronto back in February. The younger brother of Red Wings great Niklas, he only played in three games with the big club before being assigned to Hershey for the remainder of the season. 

The six-foot, four-inch, 209 pound Swede led all Bears defensemen in scoring during the team's playoff run tallying 3 goals and 12 points in 21 games.

He plays a solid two-way game and can be described as a puck moving defenseman that have become so valuable since the lockout. However, he never really received a quality chance to prove himself in both of his NHL stops with the Maple Leafs and the Capitals, so perhaps the move to Calgary will provide him with just that.

The organization will turn to 2005 first round pick Joe Finley and 2007 second round pick Josh Godfrey to reload on the back-line in Hershey for the upcoming season. 

With veterans Tyler Sloan and Sean Collins already resigned and 2009 second round selection Dmitri Orlov also contemplating a move to North America, the Bears should continue to be stacked on the back end despite these loses.

For more on the Washington Capitals, Hershey Bears, and the NHL follow Allen Pope on Twitter at http://twitter.com/allenpope