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With backup goaltender Charlie Lindgren out of the team’s lineup for the penultimate game of the 2022-23 season, the Washington Capitals inked college goalie Reid Cooper to an Amateur Tryout Offer to serve as starter Darcy Kuemper’s understudy.
Ahead of the team’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils, Cooper, a soon-to-be graduate from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, took the ice for the traditional “rookie” lap, soon joined by the rest of the Capitals.
Solo Rookie lap🙌🏒
Imagine being in college, relaxing on your couch and you get a call to come play for the @Capitals 🤯
Welcome to the big leagues, Reid Cooper👏👏👏#ALLCAPS | #CapsDevils pic.twitter.com/Gcw7yYYpI6
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) April 13, 2023
With salary cap restraints preventing the Caps from recalling a goalie from the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, the team signed Cooper, who was watching television with his college roommates when he was notified he would be joining the NHL club, to back up Kuemper for the final game of the 2022-23 regular season.
The 24-year old native of Corman Park, Saskatchewan recorded a 20-6-1 record for Curry in 27 games this past season, with a .922 Save Percentage and a Goals-Against Averaged of 1.92 and advanced to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals; he was named the Commonwealth Coast’s Co-Player and Goaltender of the Year.
During the second intermission of the Caps’ game against New Jersey, he joined NBC Sports Washington’s Al Koken for an interview on his experience:
Surprise, Reid Cooper, you’re a Washington Capital tonight!!
Tune into the final period of the @Capitals season NOW on @NBCSWashington!@RealSmokinAl | #CapsDevils pic.twitter.com/t7LoNeR1Wi
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) April 14, 2023
By Michael Fleetwood
I assume that since he is getting an MBA next month he has used up all his college eligibility and won’t be staying an amateur if he continues to play hockey. If so, I think he would be able to keep his jersey and any other equipment he picks up on this ATO. Although he won’t get paid, he will have his experiences and, even if he doesn’t get on the ice, it might raise his visibility into an ECHL contract.