How about that Cody Eakin? Everyone in Swift Current keeps telling me how special a player he is. They tell me that you don’t realize how good he is until you see him in person. I may not get the chance! Eakin found the back of the net tonight for the second time in three NHL exhibition games. He was named third star of the game and played over 15 minutes tonight. As much as logic dictates that at his age Eakin will inevitably be back in Swift Current, he is continuing to make sending him back tougher and tougher.
The Capitals now have to be asking themselves whether or not they can ignore the way he has answered the bell no matter what challenge was thrown his way. At what point do they say to themselves that they now have to test him in a regular season game? The Caps can play him up to nine times in the regular season before he either has to be kept permanently or returned to the Broncos. The main issue for Washington is that if they do keep him they can’t send him to the AHL. It’s NHL or bust for the rest of the season and an automatic year off of his entry-level contract. So even if Cody out performs everyone he’s up against for a roster spot, the Capitals have to consider whether they want to burn a year of his cheap entry-level deal and whether they would rather have someone they can send to the minors if necessary.
Reading comments from some Washington fans it seems most are very impressed by his shot, his speed and his willingness to battle. The main issue appears to be whether or not he can hang with the physical play from bigger NHL players. If he were 20 I’d say Eakin was a shoe in for the pro game. However, his strong performance as a 19-year-old still makes him a long shot.
A funny story from Emily Bennett of Jaspers’ Rink. Apparently Eakin was getting ribbed a bit because he didn’t have a picture on the jumbo tron when he was announced as part of the starting line-up. If the Capitals game day staff didn’t notice him before they sure will now.
Here are some interviews from the game including Eakin near the end: