The Washington Capitals have snapped up two interesting college free agents today, signing Kristofers Bindulis and Hampus Gustafsson to entry-level contracts. The two have signed for three and two years respectively, beginning with the 2017-18 season. Bindulis was rumored recently to be on the radar of several teams around the league. Both players will report to the Hershey Bears of the AHL on tryout agreements for the remainder of the season.
Bindulis was at the Capitals’ development camp last summer, of which he told Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post “I really enjoyed my time over there.” The 6’3″ defenseman has started to fill out into his big frame and should get a chance to play with the Bears as they try to make it into the post-season. In this his freshman year at Lake Superior State, Bindulis registered 12 points in 28 games.
It’s Gustafsson that may be even more interesting than Bindulis however, as the 23-year old forward is a finalist for the Hobey Baker award and has been a consistent scoring threat during his four years at Merrimack College. Gustafsson uses his huge frame (6’4″, 200-lbs) to fight for every inch of the ice, and can be a dominant net-front presence on the powerplay. While there are questions about the games of both players—like there are with any unproven young talent—both have some upside and a shot at making the NHL one day. First though they’ll test themselves in their first taste of professional hockey in the AHL.