The Capitals have re-signed goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday morning.
Copley, third on Washington’s depth chart behind Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer, agreed to a deal that is two-way in 2017-18 ($650,000 in NHL, $200,000 in AHL) and one-way in 2018-19 ($650,000).
Reacquired by the Caps in the Kevin Shattenkirk deal at the trade deadline, Copley was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
In 16 regular season games with the Bears last season, the 25-year-old posted an 11-5-0 record with a .931 save percentage and 2.15 goals against average. In the AHL playoffs, Copley went 5-4 with a .933 save percentage and 2.13 goals against average. He suffered a groin injury during Hershey's playoff run, but is expected to be ready for training camp.
This is Copley’s second stint in the Washington organization. Originally signed as a free agent in 2014, Copley was dealt to St. Louis in the deal that brought T.J. Oshie to D.C.
The Caps were extremely pleased to welcome Copley back into the fold in March for a couple of reasons: They wanted better goaltending in Hershey and they needed a backup plan in case Grubauer got plucked by Vegas in the expansion draft earlier this month. Grubauer, of course, did not get taken and remains a restricted free agent.
Speaking prior to the expansion draft, Caps GM Brian MacLellan confirmed the organization's intrigue with Copley's potential.
“We were really, really happy when we got him originally into Hershey and he played very well there, and then we were happy again to get him back,” MacLellan said. “I think he definitely has the upside here to be able to take a shot at filling [the backup role in Washington] if Philipp does leave and moves on. We think we've got some quality goalies coming through the system right now.”
Assuming nothing unforeseen happens, Copley is expected to be the No. 1 goaltender in Hershey next season.
MORE CAPITALS: Nathan Walker is 'as close as anybody' to being NHL ready