Bears sign four to AHL deals

The Hershey Bears announced today that the club has signed center Jeff Taffe, left wing Jon DiSalvatore, right wing Alex Berry and defenseman Steve Oleksy to American Hockey League contracts for the 2012-13 season.

Taffe, 31, enters his 11th professional season in 2012-13 and has amassed 429 points (185 goals, 244 assists) in 533 career AHL games with Springfield, Utah, Hartford, San Antonio, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Rochester, Rockford and Houston. He is a five-time 20-goal scorer and was an AHL All-Star in 2003 and 2009.

Taffe also has 180 games of NHL experience on his resume, recording 46 points (21 goals, 25 assists) while playing with the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.

The 6-3, 215-pound native of Hastings, Minn., picked up 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists) in 70 games last season with the Houston Aeros (AHL), his fourth consecutive 50-point season. Taffe was originally selected by the St. Louis Blues in the first round (30th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

DiSalvatore, 31, comes to Hershey after spending the last three seasons serving as team captain of the AHL’s Houston Aeros. During that time, he appeared in all but one regular-season game and recorded 174 points (77 goals, 97 assists), leading the Aeros in scoring with identical 61-point seasons (28 goals, 33 assists) in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Bangor, Maine, was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team in 2011-12. He also led the Aeros to the Western Conference championship in 2011.

DiSalvatore has appeared in a total of 678 career AHL games with Cleveland, Worcester, Peoria, San Antonio, Lowell and Houston, and has accumulated 491 points (206 goals, 285 assists). He has scored at least 20 goals in all nine of his AHL seasons.

DiSalvatore has also appeared in six NHL contests with the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. He was originally selected by the Blues in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Berry, 26, most recently saw American Hockey League action with the Norfolk Admirals in the 2010-11 season, where he recorded 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists), 150 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating.

The 6-foot-2, 212-pound native of Danvers, Mass., began his professional career with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in 2009 following his senior season at UMass-Amherst. In 138 career AHL games with Toronto and Norfolk, he has totaled 17 goals, 24 assists and 262 PIM.

Berry was originally selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Oleksy, 26, comes to the Bears following a successful season in 2011-12 with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL). Oleksy contributed 15 points (one goal, 14 assists) in 50 regular-season games, finishing tied for third on the Sound Tigers with a plus-16 rating. Olesky made his AHL debut in 2010-11 with the Lake Erie Monsters, where he recorded four assists in 17 games.

The 6-foot, 196-pound native of Chesterfield, Mich., played three years at Lake Superior State University (CCHA) prior to turning pro.