The Washington Capitals have signed the other part of the Kevin Shattenkirk deal, inking goaltender Pheonix Copley to a two-year contract. The deal is worth $650K per season, though will be two-way in the first year. Copley was set to be a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer.
Copley was actually first signed by the Capitals organization, and returned as part of the package with Shattenkirk at the trade deadline. The 25-year old is one of the best goaltenders in the AHL and with Philipp Grubauer expected at the time to be at risk of selection in the expansion draft, the Capitals hedged their bets. Grubauer is still technically a restricted free agent, but is expected to sign with the Capitals and serve as the backup to Braden Holtby once again.
That will push Copley down to the AHL starter’s net, where he has excelled since signing out of Michigan Tech. In four seasons in the minor leagues, Copley has recorded a .919 save percentage and is coming off his best season yet. There’s much to like about his game, including his size and athleticism. Even if he doesn’t get a chance in the NHL this season, there is a strong possibility he’ll find work as at least a backup one day.