According to Katie Carrera, the Washington Capitals have assigned Nathan Walker and three other players to Hershey.
During the Caps Convention, Caps general manager George McPhee said Walker has signed a one-year AHL deal with Hershey:
#Caps General Manager George McPhee told those at his panel discussion Nathan Walker has signed a one-year AHL deal with Hershey.
— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) September 21, 2013
According to CBA, Chapter 8:
8.9 Eligibility for Play in the League. No Player shall be eligible for play in the League unless he:
(b) had been eligible for claim in the last Entry Draft, but was unclaimed, and:
(ii) had played hockey in North America the prior season and was under age 20 at the time of the last Entry Draft, and signed an SPC which was signed and registered with the League between the conclusion of the Entry Draft and commencement of the Major Juniors season (except that if such Player had signed an NHL try-out form, which was signed and registered with the League during the aforesaid time period, then the deadline for signing and registering with the League an SPC with such try-out Club shall be the commencement of the NHL Season).
(iv) The words “eligible for claim in the last Entry Draft” in subparagraph (b) above mean “eligible for claim in all rounds of the last Entry Draft.” The words “the prior season” in subparagraph (i), (ii) and (iii) above mean “a full season prior to the last Entry Draft.”
Walker, 19, played for HC Vitkovice in Czech Extraliga, as well as the club’s junior affiliate team and on loan with HC Sumperk in Czech 1. Liga. Since he played in Europe last year and is under 20 years of age, he can’t sign an NHL contract.
The Australian winger enters his third and final year of Entry Draft eligibility (barring his return to Europe that would prolong it for one more year). However, there is no rule in place that would prohibit minor pro team, such as the Hershey Bears, from signing him to a contract.
Today may be an important step in keeping Walker in the Caps organization. Though another team could still “steal” him come next Draft, joining the Caps minor-league affiliate instead of rejoining the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms, where he played for the second half of last season, seems an emphatic sign that he sees himself in the Capitals organization.