Hunter Shepard will try to run it back with the Hershey Bears.
Shepard re-signed with the Washington Capitals on the first day of free agency, inking a two-year, two-way deal where he will make $400k guaranteed each season.
The contract, per CapFriendly, will pay Shepard $775k at the NHL level and $400k in the AHL. The deal represents a big payday at the AHL level for Shepard, reserved for one of the top players in the league. For example, the Capitals paid Mike Vecchione $250k last season in the AHL.
Hunter Shepard #ALLCAPS
2 years / 2 way
$775k / $350k ($400k guaranteed)
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 1, 2023
Shepard’s deal immediately makes him the number three goaltender on the Capitals’ depth chart with a bullet and the default starter next season in Hershey as Zach Fucale signed with the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. Clay Stevenson will serve as Shepard’s backup next year.
Shepard is coming off a season where he distinguished himself and earned a bulk of the starts (33 games played), posting a 20-8-5-1 record, 2.18 goals against average, a .916 save percentage, and one shutout.
But it was in the playoffs where Shepard shined and truly showed his grit, winning the AHL’s Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as Calder Cup Playoffs MVP. He racked up a 14-6 overall postseason record with a .914 save percentage, 2.27 goals-against average, and three shutouts. He started every single game.
Shepard’s biggest moment came in the deciding Game Seven of the Calder Cup Finals. With the Bears already down 2-0 and on a precious power play opportunity, Coachella Valley’s Carsen Twarynski broke in all alone on a shorthanded breakaway. Shepard made a pad save; Hershey would score three unanswered goals to take the series.
Keeping us in it 🚫 pic.twitter.com/asa40JGiC2
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) June 22, 2023
Shepard is blocked in Washington by starter Darcy Kuemper and backup Charlie Lindgren, but could see time if there are injuries. Lindgren is signed through 2024-25 with a $1.1 million cap hit.
Headline photo: Ian Oland/RMNB
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