Nathan Walker re-joined the Capitals today after an eventful three weeks.
On November 30, the Caps tried to sneak Walker through waivers and assign him to the Hershey Bears after playing in only seven of the team’s first 25 games. Instead, Walker was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers. Walker played two games north of the border before being put on waivers again. The Capitals would re-claim the forward on Wednesday.
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz addressed Walker’s future after practice on Thursday.
“Right now he’s gotta stay with us through to the roster freeze and he’ll be with us until after winter break here,” Trotz said, referring to the NHL’s kibosh on transactions until December 28. “Then we’ll have to decide. He needs to play hockey. He’s played what now, nine or 10 games max, that’s just not enough for a young player.
What do you want Walker to learn from this whole experience?
Barry Trotz: “I was just talking to Walks, every experience will make him better. Obviously, we weren’t getting him in the lineup here and Edmonton got him in a couple games and he saw how other teams do things and where he maybe stacks up not only with our guys but other organizations’ guys. So, you know, we just talked real briefly and we’ll have a longer discussion about where his game needs to go next. But I know for us that he has some of those great qualities as a young man. He comes to play, he’s very competitive, and he’s gonna get better all the time. He’s got a great spirit about him that you can’t measure in stats and all that. I know when he flew in yesterday the guys were really happy he was back, and I know they were all cheering for him. Good to have him back, and hopefully we can give him some direction of where we want his game to go next.”
Where are you guys in terms of sending Walker down?
Barry Trotz: “Right now he’s gotta stay with us through to the roster freeze and he’ll be with us until after winter break here. Then we’ll have to decide. He needs to play hockey. He’s played what now, nine or 10 games max, that’s just not enough for a young player. So, we’re gonna evaluate that and then make the right decision for the player, not necessarily for us right now, but for the player. If we can get him in or if we have something happen in terms of our roster, then he’ll go in. If not, you know, we’ll have to make that decision if he goes to Hershey, but he needs to play. He needs to keep growing his game. It’s great to be in the National Hockey League, but it doesn’t help you to not play. So we gotta do that, he’s gotta get playing, and Taylor Chorney, I want to get him in in one of these two games here for sure, so I gotta get those guys playing. Knock on wood, we’ve been fairly healthy, and we’ve stayed pretty status quo.”
Transcription by Brendan Doyle.
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