The Washington Capitals may have more than one opening on the blue line for next season, which could present an opportunity for prospect defenseman Madison Bowey.
Taken in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Bowey has spent the last two seasons with Hershey in the American Hockey League, and could make the jump to the Capitals roster next season.
Washington currently has two pending unrestricted free agent defensemen in Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk. Nate Schmidt, who had a strong playoff once he entered the lineup, was left unprotected in the expansion draft and may provide a nice pick-up for Vegas.
Depending on who returns, it could open the door for the 22-year-old Bowey.
Bowey’s 2016-17 season — his second in the AHL — was derailed by an ankle injury in December. He was held to just 34 regular season games with three goals and 14 points. He then appeared in 10 postseason games, with four points, and it appears his play in the minors had already left a favorable impression on the Capitals’ brass.
After losing in the second round yet again, the Capitals face an interesting offseason. They have five pending UFAs, and although the salary cap did increase to $75 million for next season, they also need to give priority to their pending restricted free agents like Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has already indicated there will be something of a youth movement in Washington for next season.
“We’re going to be getting younger, our prospects are developing and they’re going to take a bigger role,” he said, per the Washington Post. “It’s just going to be a different feel to it, I think.”