Cody Eakin was in a movie theater watching In Time when his phone rang Monday and the Capitals summoned him to Washington.
“Pretty happy. It’s obviously exciting and I get an opportunity to play my first game,” said Eakin, who is expected to make his NHL debut tonight against the Ducks.
Eakin, 20, was one of the last players cut from Capitals training camp this season, but after 10 games (3 goals, 8 assists) with Hershey, the big club wanted to take a look at its young prospect.
When the Capitals assigned him to the Bears on Oct. 4, Eakin was told that where he ultimately spends the most time in his first full season as a pro would be a reflection of his work.
“The next however long kind of depends on me,” Eakin said he was told. “I could be.. in Hershey for awhile or be there for a short time. I’ve just been trying to obviously work hard and get the systems right and get comfortable with the game and I’m lucky to have the opportunity this early especially.”
Eakin has spent the bulk of his time with the Bears, skating with AHL veterans Jacob Micflikier, Boyd Kane and Christian Hanson.
“He’s a guy that we’ve really wanted to take a look at,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We thought Hershey only had one game this week and this was a good opportunity for us to get a look at him.
“He continually was in the top three forwards that they had after the first weekend,” Boudreau said of the reports he received from the Bears about Eakin’s development. “He didn’t get anything the first weekend, now he’s getting points every game, his minutes have increased and [he’s] playing more like the player we had anticipated when we knew about him last year in the Memorial Cup and everything.”
Eakin’s presence means that Jeff Halpern will likely be a healthy scratch against the Ducks as the veteran forward took part in extra work after the morning skate.