Goaltender Pheonix Copley and forward Beck Malenstyn told reporters via conference calls on Wednesday that they will be with the Washington Capitals as “black aces” to conclude the 2019-20 season should it resume. Both players spent a majority of this season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears but the league announced on Monday that the rest of the season will be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both have spent a little bit of time with the big club before. Copley, 28, went 16-7-3 with a .905 save percentage, a 2.72 goals-against average, and a shutout in his rookie campaign last season but was placed on waivers on October 2 after signing a three-year contract that carries a cap hit of $1.1 million on February 4, 2019. In 31 games with the Bears this season, Copley has posted a 17-8-6 record with a .905 save percentage, 2.47 goals-against average, and two shutouts.
The Capitals signed Copley as a free agent in 2014 and re-acquired him from the St. Louis Blues in 2017 after trading him two years earlier.
Malenstyn, 22, appeared in three games with the Capitals in November when center Nicklas Backstrom was injured due to an upper-body injury but posted no points and a -1 rating. He has recorded seven goals, 15 points, and a +5 rating in 46 games with the Bears this season.
The Capitals drafted Malenstyn in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft (145th overall).
In April, Capitals defensive prospect Martin Fehervary told Hockey Slovakia he was also slated to become a “Black Ace” should the season resume.
By Harrison Brown