The Washington Capitals have placed defenseman Matt Niskanen on long-term injured reserve, and have recalled defenseman Madison Bowey from the Hershey Bears. The 22-year-old blueliner is set to make his debut Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Despite showing plenty of upside and potential last season, which Barry Trotz mentioned was enough for a possible call-up, Bowey suffered a lacerated tendon after taking a skate blade to the ankle. Still, he impressed in a short 34-game season with the Bears, posting three goals and 14 points. He was also a plus-6 and racked up four points in 10 playoff games.
After a strong training camp, he was one of the few remaining defensemen fighting for a spot on the opening night roster. However, due to Tom Wilson’s suspension, as well as a multitude of other factors, he was sent down to Hershey to start the season in the AHL.
Jumping into action tonight, the British Columbia native will play on the bottom-pairing alongside Christian Djoos. The duo played together a bit during their time in Hershey, and now, both rookies will be relied upon to carry the weight on the blue line, especially now that Niskanen is out indefinitely.
“We played in Hershey for a couple times, so we kind of know which player we are to each other,” Djoos said of Bowey.
Bowey also spoke highly of his partner, saying that he and Djoos show a lot of synergy when paired together.
“Him and I have a little bit of chemistry coming off last year,” Bowey said. “For sure, it’s going to be good. He’s a tremendous player with the puck and he’s a really smart defenseman so I think we suit each other pretty well.”
In addition, Bowey took the time to compare their playing styles and how their different areas of specialty help them complement each other well.
“I can bring a more physical element to the table, and he has tremendous skill,” Bowey said. “Both of us together make a pretty good tandem. He’s really smart with the puck and makes great plays. Both of us, moving our feet, skating well, we can make some stuff happen.”
Other Game Notes
As of right now, Barry Trotz told the media that Niskanen won’t need surgery. With him on LTIR, Washington saves over $5 million in cap space. They can also exceed the cap by nearly $5 million as well.
Bowey, who will be the third player in the organization to make his NHL debut this season, will also get to take his spot on the second power-play unit, and could very well make a case for a longer stay with his performance moving forward.
Philipp Grubauer will start between the pipes, marking his second start of the season. Braden Holtby was the starter in Friday’s win over the Devils but will get time to rest as Washington tries to give Grubauer more work moving forward.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.