The Washington Capitals recalled Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from the Hershey Bears and returned goaltender Zach Fucale to the AHL on Friday. Fucale was only with the team on an emergency loan basis due to an injury to Ilya Samsonov.
The move comes after the team placed Carl Hagelin on long-term injured reserve, Joe Snively on regular injured reserve, and activated Anthony Mantha. That left one open spot among the forward group that AJF now occupies.
AJF, a speedy defensive forward, has said in the past that he models his game after Hagelin.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 4, 2022
Jonsson-Fjallby is having his best season as a pro in Hershey. The forward has notched 34 points (16g, 18a) in 44 AHL games. With Hagelin out indefinitely, AJF can provide some of the skating speed and penalty-killing work that the team would otherwise miss out on.
In his latest stint with the Bears in the AHL, Jonsson-Fjallby scored the Teddy Bear Toss Night’s opening goal and became the first player in Hershey’s history to score a hat trick on the very fluffy, cuddly night.
The Swedish forward is one NHL game away from having to be exposed again on waivers if the Capitals opt to send him back to the minor leagues. So, either the team has made room for him on the NHL roster for the long haul this season or they don’t intend to play him until rosters expand for the playoffs. It’s likely the former when you consider the significant injury to Hagelin and how the two are very similar players.
Fucale’s return to the Bears likely indicates that the injury Ilya Samsonov suffered in practice Wednesday was a minor one. Samsonov got in work with goaltending coach Scott Murray during the team’s morning skate Thursday.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Recall Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from Hershey
Washington also re-assigns Zach Fucale to Hershey
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) and re-assigned goaltender Zach Fucale to Hershey, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Jonsson-Fjallby, 24, has recorded one assist in nine games with Washington this season and made his NHL debut on Nov. 8, 2021, against the Buffalo Sabres. The 6’1″, 189-pound forward is tied for second on Hershey this season with 34 points (16g, 18a) in 44 games.
In 31 games with the Bears last season, the Stockholm, Sweden, native recorded 15 points (10g, 5a) and set an AHL career high in goals per game (0.32). Jonsson-Fjallby also played in 26 games with Vastervik IK in the Swedish Hockey League, where he recorded 15 points (4g, 11a).
In 152 career games with the Bears, Jonsson-Fjallby has recorded 75 points (40g, 35a).
The Capitals selected Jonsson-Fjallby with their fifth-round pick, 147th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Fucale, 26, has posted a record of 1-1-1 with one shutout, a 1.75 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in four games for the Capitals this season. Fucale became the first goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout in his NHL debut when he stopped all 21 shots against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 11 at Little Caesars Arena.
In his second career NHL start on Jan. 8 against the Minnesota Wild, Fucale broke a Washington franchise record for the longest shutout streak by a goaltender from the start of a tenure with the franchise in the first period, besting Cristobal Huet’s mark of 80:36. In the second period, he broke the NHL record for the longest career-opening shutout sequence. Fucale’s streak ended at 138 minutes and 17 seconds, beating Matt Hackett’s (Minnesota) mark of 102:48 set in 2011.
In 20 games with the Bears this season, Fucale has posted a record of 8-8-4 with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .884 save percentage.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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