Last week, I ran a fan poll on Twitter asking you guys where you think Nathan Walker will be within the Caps organization this season. After one week with a total of 47 voters, the results are in!
55% voted that he would earn a spot amongst the Caps as a depth forward, much like he was in the beginning of last season and post-season. He brings a great two-way style of play for such a little stature at 5″9′. In the seven regular season games he played last year, he managed to score his first NHL goal from a bottom six position. When given an NHL playoff shot in the first round against the Blue Jackets, he had the primary assist on a critical goal scored by Alex Chiasson to help lift them past Columbus at their barn. If given an opportunity to a locked-in rotation spot, I believe he could contribute in many different ways on and off the ice.
Image from Sportsnet.ca
38% voted that he would go back to the Hershey Bears. After his performance in the NHL games he played last season, I find this option highly doubtful with the speed and intensity he brought to the club. If they do send him to the minors, however, he could also be a valuable asset to their top forward lines. He has decent numbers under his name so far through five seasons with them, totaling 61 points (43 goals and 58 assists) in 171 regular season games. With their loss of AHL veteran Chris Bourque, the Bears are on the search for potential replacements for one such as himself. I’m not saying he is the perfect replacement for Bourque, but he is definitely a talent and a sight to watch. With early development with the Caps, he can train to be a force in the American Hockey League.
Image from NHL.com
Finally, 6% voted that he would be traded before or during this upcoming season. He could be a part of a trade come the deadline if the Caps believe they can actually make a solid run at back-to-back Stanley Cups and if a player could help fill a current void at that moment. There are a lot of expiring UFAs and RFAs coming up this season who have not been signed to an extension throughout the league that could be crucial tools in a playoff run with the Caps, but it is too early to say what is needed. Other than that, I don’t see General Manager Brian MacLellan parting with him.
Image from pedestrian.tv
Keep an eye out for the next Twitter poll!