The Washington Capitals have signed Goaltender Hunter Shepard, who was one of the top remaining undrafted college free agents on the market. His now-former college team, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, announced that the Capitals have inked the netminder to an AHL contract.
Hunter Shepard, 24, is a two-time All-American (first team in 2018-19, and second team in 2019-20), Two-time NCHC Goaltender of the Year (2018-19 and 2019-20), Three-time Mike Richter Award Finalist, and a Three-time All-NCHC selection. Hunter owns the NCAA record for consecutive starts with 115, an ironman run that stretched between October 21, 2017 and March 7, 2020.
Stats: Elite Prospects
He is also UMD’s all-time leader in wins (he was 76-37-5 overall), goals against average (1.94), saves percentage (.922) and shut outs (17). He also holds the distinction of being the only UMD goalie to ever secure all-conference first team status on more than one occasion. In eight lifetime NCAA Tournament appearances, he posted an 8-0 record, an 0.97 goals against average and a .953 saves percentage with one shutout. He was also the first goaltender to backstop his team to back-to-back NCAA national titles (2017-18 and 2018-19) in a half century. He served as a team captain with the 2019-20 Bulldogs, the first goaltender to do so in 43 years.
The Hershey Bears current tandem of Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek are both signed through 2021-22. However, if Braden Holtby moves on, one of those two could presumably move up to the NHL level as Ilya Samsonov’s backup, which would give Shepard a chance at earning the backup role with AHL Hershey.
Excited to sign my first professional contract with the @TheHersheyBears and be a part of the @Capitals organization. Thank you to all of my family, friends, coaches, and teammates who have helped me get to this point in my hockey career.
— Hunter Shepard (@shepDadyy) June 24, 2020
By Jon Sorensen