Capitals Officially Announce Shepard, McIlrath Have Been Signed; Dubé, Phillips Also Inked

Photo: The Win Column

The Washington Capitals have re-signed goaltender Hunter Shepard to a two-year, two-way contract ($775,000/$350,000), defenseman Dylan McIlrath to a two-year, two-way contract ($775,000/$525,000), forward Pierrick Dubé to a two-year, two-way entry level contract ($870,000/$82,500) and forward Matthew Phillips to a one-year $775,000 one-way contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Shepard, 27, appeared in 33 games with Hershey last season, posting a record of 20-8-5 with a 2.18 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage and one shutout. The Cohasset, Minnesota native ranked second among AHL goaltenders in goals-against average and tied for sixth in save percentage. Shepard was named the AHL Goaltender of the Month in Nov. 2022 after registering a 6-0-0 record with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. Shepard, who started all 20 Calder Cup Playoff games for the Bears, posted a 14-6 record with a 2.27 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and three shutouts. The 6’0″, 222-pound goaltender won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy, awarded to the MVP of the Calder Cup Playoffs. In 45 career AHL games with Hershey, Shepard has a record of 28-11-5-3 with a 2.07 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage and three shutouts.

McIlrath, Hershey’s captain, recorded 13 assists and a team-leading 102 penalty minutes in 60 regular-season games with Hershey this season. McIlrath’s 13 assists were an AHL single-season career high. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native added two points (1g, 1a) and 44 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games during the Bears’ run to the Calder Cup championship. McIlrath also registered one assist and seven penalty minutes in six games with Washington in 2022-23. The 6’5″, 232-pound defenseman has appeared in 72 career NHL games with the Capitals, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings, recording six points (3g, 3a) and 128 penalty minutes. In 560 career AHL games, McIlrath has registered 113 points (27g, 86).

Dubé, 22, recorded 32 points (16g, 16a) in 44 games with the Laval Rocket of the AHL in 2022-23. The Lyon, France native ranked first among Laval rookies in points-per-game (0.73) and plus/minus (+10). The 5’9″, 172-pound forward also appeared in nine games with the Trois-Rivières Lions of the ECHL, recording 14 points (9g, 5a). Prior to making his professional debut in 2021-22, Dubé recorded 149 points (75g, 74a) in 219 career games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Quebec Remparts, Chicoutimi Saguenéens and Shawinigan Cataractes, including a career-high 45 points (19g, 26a) in 56 games with Quebec in 2019-20.

Phillips, 25, recorded 76 points (36g, 40a) in 66 games with the Calgary Wranglers of the AHL in 2022-23. Phillips led the AHL’s top-regular season team in scoring and ranked second in the AHL in goals and fifth in points. Phillips, a sixth-round draft pick (166th overall) of the Calgary Flames in 2016, has played three career NHL games with the Flames, including two games this past season. The 5’8″, 160-pound forward was named to the AHL’s First All-Star Team in 2022-23 and played in the AHL’s All-Star Game in 2020. In 265 career AHL games, Phillips has registered 237 points (103g, 134a). The Calgary, Alberta native played four seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Victoria Royals, recording 281 points (136g, 145a) in 215 career games.

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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16 Responses to Capitals Officially Announce Shepard, McIlrath Have Been Signed; Dubé, Phillips Also Inked

  1. hockeydruid says:

    All good players for Hershey. Wonder if Phillips will give Frank a run for his money in the scoring department? Not happy that the GM let Pilon get away while signing a guy on LTIR and then trading picks for a 3rd pair D-man when we already have several. Seems like these moves were moves just so he could pound his chest and say “See I did something.” Looks like Hershey is going to be a scoring machine next eyar.

  2. Sprak says:

    All these Hershey signings at forward spell trouble for the young guys trying to develop there. I feel like this management team hasn’t learned anything, but has also learned a lot at the same time. With Sgarbossa and Phillips now in Hershey, Lapierre now sits at 3C again in Hershey, Sutter still sits at 4C and Hofer is forced out of the lineup at center completely. At least Miro and Suzdalev still have prime positions in the depth in Hershey (1 and 2 LW).

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree. I think one or two prospects just got demoted.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or they’re being considered as part of a trade package. Also, Phillips can play wing. It almost feels like someone to replace Anas, but the 1 way contract is a little surprising.

      • Brian Beakes (@Puckstop31_) says:

        I think at least one forward prospect will be dealt this offseason. If that does not happen, this can be a lot of positive pressure on the forwards to perform for their spot.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Phillips signing is big for the Bears. Will (hopefully) add an offensive threat to pair with the incoming offensive talent through the farm system

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if links can be posted, but if so this is a good article about Phillips.

  5. Anonymous says:

    These all seem like Hershey moves from what everyone is saying… I like the Pacioretty move but There’s still some quality on the market or via trade. What about taking a look at Vlad Taresenko on a Pacioretty type deal for another proven 30+goal top 6/tip 9 Winger.. or package something together take Nylander off Leafs hands since they are in a bind. Add a 70-80pt plsyer

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree, re-stocking Hershey.

      • hockeydruid says:

        Restocking Hershey is real nice however how many of the draft picks this year are going to college? How many will stay with their current team? How many will end up in Hershey and isn’t 1 staying in Europe? Personally if Pacioretty was ready to play in Oct that would be a good signing although at this point what the Caps need more than goals and wins are high and higher draft picks. This team is not a Cup contender and probably not a playoff contender for the next few years (5-7) until Ovie is gone and they have hit rock bottom and been able to get their next franchise player to build around as he is not on the current roster or in Hershey.

  6. Greg says:

    I’m excited with what Mac has done in the draft especially last 2 years. Then signing guys with potential like Phillips,Dube,Rybinski,then the Dman Axel . I have No problem with at all . I still have high hopes for Mcmichael and Hendrix and throw Alexeyev in there.
    I like the high rewards low risk signing of Max . The guy could be a potential huge gain if we can get 50 plus games out of him still highly productive when healthy, But age and coming off back to back Achilles is concerning. I’m hoping we get the St. Louis version of Edmondson for sure. Best thing is if neither pan out you are not tied in long term and minimal cost

  7. GRin430 says:

    Phillips is on a one-way, which means the Caps think he can stick in DC. The reason for that thinking would probably be that his coach in Stockton and Calgary was Mitch Love, who is now a Caps’ assistant. That’s also likely why Phillips was willing to sign in DC.

    The Caps now have 2 of the top 10 AHL goal scorers from last year under contract (Phillips, Frank). To me that signals that they don’t think they are going to find the scorers they need via NHL signings or trades, at least without taking a chance on old injured guys finally getting healthy and regaining their scoring touch. Given what’s left in the UFA pool and the difficulty in making trades due to the tight cap situation around the league, pretty much every team in the league is going to need to find guys in their system who can move up and be effective at the NHL level. The Caps at least have a group of AHL guys who have been very successful in every part of a line-up. Here’s hoping a few of them push some of the old farts out the door… But they still have to earn their spot, it won’t be awarded to them.

  8. Prevent Defense says:

    The Caps farm system is overflowing with talent and motivation, forcing inevitable “hard decisions” by management. There is tremendous “upward pressure” at Hershey. I would say “Embrace it!”

    Caps fans endured many seasons between 1975 and 2005 where the farm system was bereft of such talent and “pressure.” All that we could do back then was “Embrace the S*ck”

  9. dwgie26 says:

    It’s likely that Phillips was being shopped for a one-way contract (wouldn’t sign a two-way). Caps were willing to do that which really just means they can spend over the Cap and burry a couple of guys in Hershey.

    I really like to see Frank and Phillips compete for 3RW. This means Wilson on Top line and Oshie on 2nd and Mantha on left.

    The competition we have brewing is very strong. But once again, we are back to OUR guys need to earn their spots. If they aren’t good enough to beat out Phillips, Edmundson and others then we know where they stand.

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