UPDATE: Just talked to Coach Lamb and Eakin will be in the line-up tomorrow as the Broncos host Prince Albert. He’ll likely start on a line with Brad Hoban and Taylor Vause. That’ll leave Justin Dowling and Stepan Novotny together with Juraj Roznik.
The Capitals also sent former Bronco Lawrence Nycholat to the AHL today.
The Washington Capitals official website reports that they’ve assigned Broncos star Cody Eakin back to Swift Current. Eakin made quite an impression during his time in Washington and stayed longer than most expected. He scored twice in three pre-season games and gave it a real run in the competition for Washington’s third line centre spot.
So what kept him from making the team? I’m just guessing but I’d say his age is the biggest factor. As stated previously on this blog and elsewhere, 19-year-old Canadian Hockey League players can’t play in the AHL until the season is over for their CHL team. That left the Capitals with very little flexibility. Eakin was either a full-time NHLer or coming back to Swift Current. On a team as deep as Washington it didn’t make long-term sense for them to take that risk without having anywhere else to send Cody if he hit a dry spell.
This experience at the NHL level can only be a positive for Eakin. He proved he can play with and produce against the best in the world. I would think he’ll be coming back to the Broncos with as much confidence as he has ever had. He’ll be coming back to Swift with a chance to be the best player in this league and lead the Broncos as their Captain.
Eakin will also have the opportunity to become a key player on the Canadian entry for this year’s World Junior Championship. After not making the club last year that alone should be all the motivation he needs to take things up a few notches.
His return to Swift Current is obviously huge for the Broncos. After getting some secondary scoring out of Brad Hoban and Taylor Vause in their first game of the season, the Broncos have relied entirely on the Dowling/Novotny line for their production in the last two games. Having Eakin back instantly spreads out the offence and creates two dangerous lines. Swift Current still needs those two-way guys to start putting the puck in the net, but there’s no question Eakin will take some of that pressure off.
The 19-year-old isn’t just an offensive weapon either. He’s a guy who will play in every situation and make both special teams units better. He is one of the few guys in the conversation for being the top player in that league. With Dowling and Novotny already producing at an elite rate, and the return of Adam Lowry about a week away, the Broncos can be a pretty scary team.
Eakin is on his way back and from what I understand he’ll be here tomorrow when the Broncos play Prince Albert. If that’s the case it’ll be my first chance to see him play in person. Looking forward to it and hopefully the fans here respond by coming out to the Credit Union iPlex for his return as well. I’ll find out more when I catch up with Mark Lamb this afternoon.