The Washington Capitals re-signed goaltender Hunter Shepard to a two-year, two-way contract that carries a $775,000 salary cap hit on Saturday after the 27-year-old became an unrestricted free agent.
Shepard won back-to-back NCAA Championships with the Bulldogs in 2018 and 2019, was twice named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Goaltender of the Year (2019 and 2020), earned First-Team All-American honors in 2019 and Second-Team All-American honors in 2020. Shepard finished his NCAA career as a three-time Mike Richter Award Finalist, given to the NCAA’s top goaltender, and a three-time All-NCHC selection.
Shepard appeared in three games with the Hershey Bears in the 2020-21 season, finishing with a 3-0-0 record with one shutout, a 1.00 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage. Additionally, he played in 21 games with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, earning a 12-6-2 record with one shutout, a 2.55 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He earned Goaltender of the Week honors with South Carolina for the week of May 24-30, after going 3-0-0 with a shutout, a 1.33 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
The 2021-22 season Shepard spent a majority of his time with the South Carolina Stingrays. He garnered a 2.88 goals against average and a .917 save percentage in 23 games played with the Stingrays.
Shepard also played in nine games with the Bears, earning a 2.06 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. He was also recalled by the Capitals but played in no games. He was reassigned to the Capitals taxi squad on January 6, and returned to Hershey on February 2. He was also recalled by the Capitals in May as a third goaltender for the postseason.
The 2022-23 season was Shepard’s best as a professional. Shepard finished the regular season 20-8-5 with a 2.18 goals against average (2nd inAHL) and a .916 save percentage (7th in the AHL). He became the Bears number one netminder early in the season and there was no question who the Bears would go to in the postseason. Shepard finished the postseason 14-6 with a 2.27 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Shepard was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy for series most valuable player. Shepard was called up for two weeks in December but did not see any game action, which may cost the Capitals in the end.
Hunter Shepard #ALLCAPS
2 years / 2 way
$775k / $350k ($400k guaranteed)
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 1, 2023