The Capitals will get a look at one of their most promising defensive prospects, but it comes at a high price. Defenseman Madison Bowey was recalled from the Hershey Bears on Saturday and Matt Niskanen was placed on LTIR, the team announced.
Bowey has an impressive preseason and looked as if he had clearly earned a spot on the team, but because of a tight salary cap situation and his waiver exempt status, Bowey started the season in the AHL. Now just five games into the season, the Caps are in need of his services.
Niskanen left Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils in the second period after appearing to take a slash from forward Jimmy Hayes on the hand. The team has listed his status as week-to-week with an upper body injury.
By placing him on LTIR, Niskanen must now miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days of the NHL season.
The injury is significant for a team that was already thin on the blue line. Niskanen ranked fourth on the team in playing time per game with 21:09. The injury will put further strain on a defensive core that was already relying far too much on its top four. Despite having never played an NHL game, Bowey may be expected to step in and immediately take on a significant role.
Of the seven defensemen the Capitals had on the roster prior to Niskanen’s injury, only two of them, Niskanen and John Carlson, were right-handed shots. It would not be an ideal scenario for a team to play with five left-handed shots on the defense, meaning the team may need Bowey to step into the lineup as early as Saturday’sgame against the Philadelphia Flyers.\
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Defenseman Madison Bowey re-signed with the Capitals on Thursday, inking a two-year extension that will carry an average of $1 million.
Bowey carried a cap charge of $703,333 last season.
The 23-year-old appeared in 51 games for the Caps in 2017-18, amassing 12 assists, 24 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of minus-3.
Bowey also suited up in nine contests for AHL Hershey, though he finished the season as one of the Black Aces during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup.
With Bowey back in the fold, the Caps now have six of seven defenseman from last season’s roster under contract. (Veteran Brooks Orpik remains an unrestricted free agent.)
Bowey had an uneven first year in the NHL—he didn’t play following the late-February addition of Michal Kempny—but the Caps expect that the 6-2, 198-pound right-shot blue liner will become reliable full-time player with more seasoning.
Bowey’s deal leaves Tom Wilson as the Caps' only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. The sides are in discussions on a multi-year extension.
Including Bowey’s extension, the Caps have roughly $7.3 million in salary cap space remaining, according to www.capfriendly.com.
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In the present, the Capitals are the Stanley Cup champions. But what does the future hold?
The voice of the Hershey Bears, Zack Fisch, joins JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir to talk all things prospects!
Who stood out at development camp? How will Pheonix Copley look as backup? Which Hershey prospects could push for a spot in the NHL? All that and more on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.
Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.
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