Before they stepped on the ice for Friday’s practice, Coach Adam Oates pulled defensive prospect Patrick Wey aside to ask how comfortable he is, or isn’t, with the system and the reads he must make if he appears in his first NHL game this weekend.
“Calle’s talked to him a bit and is going to talk to him some more,” Oates said. “I’m sure it’s overwhelming being here and just let the guy have a good practice, get some laughs and a good sweat going.”
Oates said it hasn’t been determined whether Wey will play Saturday against the Nashville Predators but if he does it will be the third level the right-handed defenseman has played in as many months.
Wey, 22, made AHL Hershey’s roster out of training camp but was scratched for the season opener. Rather than have him sit idle, Wey was reassigned to the Reading Royals and played eight games with them in the ECHL. He then was called up by the Bears in November and played in seven AHL contests before being summoned by the Capitals.
“Just be confident and play a solid game I think they just want me to play in as many games and get minutes,” Wey said of the message he’s received in the minor leagues. But the young defenseman, who describes his game as being “safe and dependable” and making sure he breaks pucks out of the zone cleanly, knows there are adjustments he can make in his first pro season after wrapping up a four-year career at Boston College.
“My offensive play could definitely use some work,” Wey said. “I could do a better job at the offensive blueline sometimes. I think that’s the thing I’ve noticed the most.”
Should Wey get in the lineup this weekend it would mark the second time this season that the Capitals have scratched Steve Oleksy in favor of rookies. Washington played Connor Carrick in the first two games, opting to sit Oleksy as a healthy scratch. Oleksy played the next 20 games but hasn’t appeared in a contest since Nov. 20 against Pittsburgh.
“Steve and I talked about stuff that I’ve seen and in a sense it’s a sophomore jinx, if you will but just a little bit of I thought he hit a wall moving the puck,” Oates said. “I still think very highly of him, we still want him. Just gotta work on his game, everybody does at times. everybody. Patrick’s done a good job down [in Hershey] so he’s getting a couple practices so we can see what he looks like.”