During Capitals development camp two weeks ago, Hershey Bears coach Troy Mann lamented he may have to go into next season with three rookie defensemen in his lineup. With Friday’s signing of free-agent defenseman Ryan Stanton, that may no longer be the case.
Stanton, 26, agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Capitals and is expected to challenge Taylor Chorney for a spot as the Caps’ seventh defenseman. A physical defenseman, Stanton played in 54 games with the Vancouver Canucks last season, netting three goals, eight assists and 35 penalty minutes. Chorney, 28, appeared in seven games with the Penguins last season.
If Stanton winds up in Hershey, he’ll help guide a young blue line that includes Connor Carrick, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Tyler Lewington.
A 6-foot-2, 208-pounder from St. Albert, Alberta, Stanton ranked fourth among Canucks defensemen in hits (93) and blocked shots (113). He recorded 16 points (one goal, 15 assists) and 32 penalty minutes in 64 games with Vancouver in 2013-14, setting career highs in games played, assists and points. In 119 career NHL games with Chicago and Vancouver, Stanton has earned 27 points (four goals, 23 assists) and 69 penalty minutes.
Stanton has also played in 224 career AHL games, recording 60 points (nine goals, 51 assists) and 332 penalty minutes for Rockford.
New start times: The start times for three Capitals’ games at Verizon Center have been changed by the NHL. The Caps’ home games against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 8, the Florida Panthers on Feb. 2 and the New York Islanders on Feb. 4 have been changed from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.