Madison Bowey has been re-assigned to the Hershey Bears, the Capitals announced Tuesday. Bowey has not played since Feb. 20 after Washington's blue line suddenly became rather crowded with the additions of Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek.
Bowey, 22, has played in 51 games this season after making his NHL debut on Oct. 26. He has tallied 12 assists, ranking eighth among rookie defensemen.
Washington has struggled to move the puck out of their own zone this season and having two rookie defensemen in the top-six was a harrowing prospect for the playoffs. To address that, the Capitals acquired Kempny and Jerabek.
Since then, Bowey has been the odd-man out.
While the move from NHL to the AHL is easy to think of as a "demotion," Bowey's contract likely had more to do with his being sent to Hershey than his play.
With spots on the blue line open in training camp, Bowey established himself as one of the team's top six players. Yet, he began the season in Hershey. The reason why was because Bowey, unlike fellow rookie Christian Djoos, is waivers exempt. He was recalled after an injury to Matt Niskanen and has been with the Caps ever since except for some paper transactions to Hershey for cap reasons.
Bowey has had his share of mistakes this season, but overall has played well for a rookie. The team's confidence in him was reflected with the waiving of Taylor Chorney after trading for Kempny. Rather than send Bowey to Hershey, risk-free, the Capitals opted to place Chorney on waivers where he was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Losing Chorney brought the number of defensemen on the roster down to seven. Now with eight again after the addition of Jerabek, it makes sense to send Bowey to Hershey where he can get playing time. That's not an option for Djoos who, again, would have to clear waivers.
It would not be a surprise to see Bowey back on the roster before the playoffs, especially given that Hershey seems unlikely to reach the postseason in the AHL.
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