As the Washington Capitals head into an offseason with several high-priced restricted free agents to sign, they can cross one (much) less well known name off the list. The team has re-signed Nathan Walker to a two-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay him $650K in the NHL. The 23-year old was just coming off his entry-level deal and would have been a restricted free agent for the first time.
Walker has one of the most interesting paths to professional hockey, born in Wales and growing up in Australia. He signed an AHL deal with the Hershey Bears before then being selected by their parent club in the third round of the 2014 draft. He then signed an entry-level deal and continued to play for the Bears for the next three seasons, this time under an SPC.
Walker has a good shot at spending time with the Capitals next season, as they will need minimum-salary players to fill out the ranks around their big cap-hits. The 5’9″ winger has never been afraid of the physical side of the game, and has an incredible work ethic. His energy style could fit into a fourth-line, while he has shown a bit of an offensive upside during his years in the AHL. The first Australian ever drafted, he would set a similar record as the first to the NHL should he make it this season.