Report: Capitals Sign College Free Agent Goaltender Hunter Shepard To AHL Deal

Photo: University of Minnesota-Duluth

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.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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