NAHL grad Shepard signs two-year contract with NHL's Capitals
The Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL) have announced they have signed former NAHL and Bismarck Bobcats goaltender Hunter Shepard to a two-year, two-way contract.
Shepard, 25, appeared in three games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) last season, finishing with a 3-0-0 record with one shutout, a 1.00 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage. Additionally, the 6'1", 210-pound goaltender played in 21 games with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, earning a 12-6-2 record with one shutout, a 2.55 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Additionally, the Coleraine, Minn., native earned Goaltender of the Week honors with South Carolina in the week of May 24-30 after going 3-0-0 with a shutout, a 1.33 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
Shepard signed an AHL contract with Hershey on June 30, 2020 following a four year career with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the NCAA. In 119 games with the team - which included an NCAA-record 115 straight games from Oct. 21, 2017 to March 7, 2020 - Shepard finished with a 76-37-5 record, ranking first all-time in Bulldogs history in wins, goals-against average (1.94), save percentage (.922) and shutouts (17). Shepard won back-to-back NCAA Championships with the Bulldogs in 2018 and 2019, was twice named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Goaltender of the Year (2019 and 2020), earned First-Team All-American honors in 2019 and Second-Team All-American honors in 2020. Shepard finished his NCAA career as a three-time Mike Richter Award Finalist - given to the NCAA's top goaltender - and a three-time All-NCHC selection.
Prior to his collegiate career, Shepard appeared in 81 games with the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) from 2014-15 through 2015-16. In 2015-16, Shepard earned North American Hockey League Goaltender of the Year honors, was named to the First All-Star Team and led the NAHL in games played (50), wins (34), and shutouts (8), while ranking second in goals against average (1.90).