The Hershey Bears’ season officially ended on Monday after the AHL canceled the rest of the 2019-20 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic, but at least two Bears players could still have more hockey to play.
The Washington Capitals have notified forward Beck Malenstyn and goaltender Pheonix Copley that they will be black aces for the team if the NHL season ever restarts. A black ace is a term for players recalled from the AHL for their NHL team’s playoff run.
Beck Malenstyn and Pheonix Copley, on a Zoom call with media, confirm they'll be black aces if and when the #Caps' season resumes. Malenstyn returned to Vancouver, while Copley has stayed in the Hershey area.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 13, 2020
It’s possible that Malenstyn and Copley won’t be the only call-ups either. The NHL restricts rosters to 23 players during the regular season and those contracts must fit under the $81.5 million salary cap. But after the trade deadline passes, that 23-man roster limit goes away. Teams are allowed four non-emergency recalls.
If the 2019-20 season restarts, the NHL is reportedly expected to do away with the recall limit. The Penguins are expecting to carry up to seven extra players from the minors.
“We’d probably have to carry a total of 30 guys, with the roster we have here (and) with whatever extras we’d add,” Jim Rutherford recently said to DK Pittsburgh Sports. “If you go on a long run, we’ve all seen that you need extra guys.”
Copley would operate as the Capitals’ third goaltender during practice while Malenstyn would presumably take Brendan Leipsic’s roster spot. Leipsic was recently released by the team after making misogynistic comments and calling his teammates “losers” in a group chat.
Malenstyn played three games in November for Washington as an injury recall while Copley served as Braden Holtby’s backup during the 2018-19 season.
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen/RMNB and Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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