Crikey! Nathan Walker is on the Cusp of NHL History

cut
Photo: Washington Capitals

From the moment he was drafted, Capitals prospect Nathan Walker literally made history. As the first Australian-born player taken in the NHL Entry Draft (89th overall in 2014), Walker put himself in a good position to (hopefully) play in the NHL at some point in the near future. And while it has taken a few seasons of development in the American Hockey League, Walker is on the cusp of being the first Australian to play in the NHL.

While a roster spot is never guaranteed, the general consensus among many within the organization seems to be that Walker is the most NHL-ready of the Capitals’ top prospects, something Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann reiterated in an interview not long ago. While he is not the biggest player at 5’8″, Walker has shown flashes of offensive potential during his time in the AHL (his career-high in points was 41 in 2015-16) and is not afraid to stand up for his teammates despite his size. Walker has also been a rather solid defensive player as well, finishing with a combined plus-30 rating over his four full seasons in the AHL. As a result of his hard work the last four seasons, the Capitals re-signed him to a two-year contract this summer. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan tweeted yesterday that Walker’s chances of making the team out of training camp were very likely.

But Walker is also a very fast player and is one of the team’s hardest-working players. As one can imagine, Australia is not exactly the hockey capital of the world, and when he was only a teenager, Walker moved to the Czech Republic to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL. Because of his small stature, he has had to earn everything he’s achieved in his career. And while there are other prospects that are ready for a chance to prove themselves at the NHL level, Walker has developed into a well-rounded. two-way player, which makes him a versatile player the Caps would have at their disposal.

But when, not if, Walker makes his NHL debut, it will be a historic accomplishment that will (obviously) never be repeated, and the effects it will have on his native Australia will be huge. Walker has already become somewhat of a celebrity in Australia, and his playing in the NHL could cause the growth of hockey in the land Down Under, something that will continue to grow the game around the world. With Walker set to play in the Caps’ first preseason game tonight, fans will get a chance to see Walker in action for the first time this fall.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first and only Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography and reading in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
This entry was posted in News, NHL, Players, Propsects, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Crikey! Nathan Walker is on the Cusp of NHL History

  1. Pingback: Washington Capitals Evening News: Hello MoJo | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Inside the Numbers: How the First Preseason Game Affects the Capitals’ Training Camp Battles. | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: Preseason Game Preview: Capitals @ Canadiens | NoVa Caps

  4. Excited to see Walker play in the NHL

    Like

  5. Pingback: Projecting the Caps’ Opening Night Lineup through Week 1 of Training Camp | NoVa Caps

  6. Pingback: Capitals Announce Latest Set of Roster Cuts, Get Closer to Final Roster | NoVa Caps

  7. Pingback: Tyler Graovac Making A Name for Himself With His Extended Training Camp Stay | NoVa Caps

  8. Pingback: With Opening Night Right Around the Corner, Who Will Take the Ice for the Capitals Next Thursday? | NoVa Caps

  9. Pingback: With Opening Night Six Days Away, Who Will Take the Ice for the Capitals Next Thursday? | NoVa Caps

  10. Pingback: Canes Clip Caps, 3-1 | NoVa Caps

  11. Pingback: It’s A G’Day Mate! Nathan Walker Makes the Capitals’ Opening Night Roster | NoVa Caps

  12. Pingback: For Nathan Walker, the Road to the NHL Has Been Anything But Easy | NoVa Caps

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s