Nate Schmidt was beloved by Caps fans for his great hair, his smile and his general positivity, not to mention his dependability on the ice.
When the young defendseman was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights as a part of the expansion draft in June it was disappointing for the Capitals, but saying goodbye to Schmidt was even harder for the fans.
Sunday's game against the Golden Knights was Schmidt's first time back to DC since his move to Vegas.
Schmidt became a fan-favorite in Washington, D.C. in short order, and it wasn't a facade. Schmidt is an eternally happy person, and the response from the Capitals fans on Sunday was evidence of this.
Prior to the game, Caps fans eagerly awaited Schmidt to come out for warmups with signs and #88 jerseys, cheering as he took the ice.
Schmidt was equally as happy to return, saying he had a blast in Washington and is thankful to see familiar faces again.
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The Capitals formally welcomed Schmidt back with an announcement during the first period.
Las Vegas is having a surprisingly successful season for an expansion team.
They lead the Pacific Division by a wide margin and are second overall in the NHL. Schmidt has been a significant contributor to the success, recording 4 goals, 18 assists, 22 points so far this season and averaging 22:30 minutes per game.