Nathan Walker, the undrafted Australian winger playing in Czech Republic, has been invited to #Caps training camp.
— Matias Strozyk (@MaStrozyk) June 27, 2012
This is fantastic. From all accounts it seems that Nathan has the skills to impress. (Corey Pronman, NHL Draft/Prospects writer for Hockey Prospectus and ESPN, rated him at #42 in the draft.) It’s dev camp for prospects rather than actual training camp for the team, but hey! It’s a foot in the door!
And update: Walker won’t be signed because there’s a rule in the NHL CBA (sections 8.9 and 10.1 d) that prevents undrafted European players under the age of 22 from being signed as he’s still draft eligible. However, his could be a similar case to Tomas Hyka, who was undrafted last year, impressed the pants off the Flyers in training camp last year, but wasn’t able to be signed by them. Hyka was picked up this year as a 6th round pick by the LA Kings.
I’d be really interested to see if Walker goes back to the Czech league or goes to Major Junior in Canada (And a further ETA: he didn’t get selected in the CHL draft today. Oh well, next year). I think that playing in North America and being more accessible to scouts, as well as showing that he can cope with the North American game in spite of his size will only improve his chances in the NHL. Hopefully playing well in the Caps Development camp will be sufficient to get him drafted next year.
So that’s really good news. Go Nathan!