Goaltender Hunter Shepard was one of the top remaining undrafted college free agents on the market but he wasn’t able to land an entry-level contract. Instead, his now-former college team, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, announced that the Capitals have inked the netminder to an AHL contract.
The 24-year-old wrapped up a stellar career with the Bulldogs this season, posting a 2.18 GAA and a .918 SV% in 34 games. Those numbers were pretty strong in their own right but they actually represented a step back from the previous two years. Those performances helped earn Shepard NCHC Goalie of the Year and first all-star team honors in each of the last two seasons while he won the NCAA title in 2018 and 2019. He also showed that he was durable as he made 115 consecutive starts for Minnesota-Duluth spanning from October 2017 to this past March which is an NCAA record.
Playing time may be hard to come by for Shepard as their current AHL tandem of Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek are both signed through 2021-22. However, if Braden Holtby moves on, one of those two could presumably move up to the NHL level as Ilya Samsonov’s backup which would give Shepard a chance at earning the backup role with AHL Hershey.