One of last season’s brightest surprises on defense, Nate Schmidt, has re-signed with the Washington Capitals on a one-year, two-way deal. Mike Vogel reports that Schmidt will make $625,000 at the NHL level and $110,000 in the AHL.
The goofy-grinned, soon-to-be 23-year-old was probably best among all the fresh faces on the blue line. Spending nearly half of his time with Mike Green, Schmidt put up a positive possession score of 50.6%, a rarity amongst Caps defenseman last season. He has a big shot, a good first pass, and a great attitude.
With the signings of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, Schmidt will likely be relegated to Hershey– barring injury or something unexpected during training camp. Schmidt is a key part of the Caps’ blue-line depth and should receive the big minutes in Hershey that he needs– including on the power play and penalty kill– to continue his development.
From the Caps:
The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Nate Schmidt to a one-year, two-way contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Schmidt, 22, made his NHL debut at Colorado on Oct. 12 and played in 29 games with the Capitals last season, recording six points (two goals, four assists), six penalty minutes and a plus-four rating. The St. Cloud, Minn., native registered his first NHL point with an assist at Calgary on Oct. 26 and scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 7 against Nashville. The 6’0”, 198-pound defenseman also appeared in 38 games with Hershey last season, recording 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) and 12 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, Schmidt spent the 2012-13 season with the University of Minnesota, registering 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 40 games. Schmidt was named to the All-WCHA First Team after leading the league in scoring by a defenseman. Schmidt finished the season ranked tied for third among all NCAA defensemen with 32 points including a career-high nine goals. Schmidt also led all collegiate defensemen and ranked tied for sixth among all skaters with 19 power-play points this season. Schmidt finished the year with a plus-15 rating.
In 96 career games at Minnesota, Schmidt tallied 74 points (12 goals, 62 assists) as a two-time All-WCHA defenseman. In his final two seasons with the program, Schmidt and the Gophers won back-to-back MacNaughton Cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season champions and made two trips to the NCAA tournament including the team’s run to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2011-12.