While the ultimate dream is to have a New Zealander in the NHL, seeing an Australian do well in the NHL pre-season is almost just as good.
Nathan Walker was picked in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. Since then he’s been slugging it out in the AHL for the Hershey Bears. But right now he’s looking like a potential candidate to make the Capitals roster for the 2017-18 season.
In the first game of the pre-season where Washington looked underwhelming against the New Jersey Devils, Walker scored their lone goal shorthanded and is impressing the right people.
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post: “He may not be the most natural goal scorer, but he has [an] effect on pace of play, the zone play. He wears people out. He’s in your face and gets people off their game, so there’s a lot of good things about Nathan that you like.”
If he does make the team, Walker’s success can provide motivation for the next-generation of New Zealand hockey talent to follow in his footsteps and be the first Kiwi to make the show.