After playing in 51 games with the Capitals this season, rookie defenseman Madison Bowey is returning to Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Hershey Bears. He was spotted leaving the Capitals’ practice facility with his equipment on Tuesday, and the team is expected to make his re-assignment official later in the afternoon.

Bowey made his NHL debut just six games into the season. He was a 2013 second-round draft pick, and in 51 games this season, he finished with 12 assists while playing in a mostly third-pairing role and averaging 13:43 per game. But Bowey hasn’t played since Feb. 20, as after the Capitals acquired left defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek before the trade deadline, Bowey got pushed out of the lineup. Bowey, a 22-year-old right shot, also seems to be behind fellow rookie Christian Djoos on the depth chart.

And unlike Djoos, Bowey doesn’t need waivers to return to the AHL, so Washington doesn’t risk another team swiping him in sending him down.

Rather than going weeks without playing, Bowey will have the opportunity to play regularly, continuing to develop while also getting his confidence up. The Capitals also have just two right-shot defensemen on the roster in John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, so it’s possible the Capitals will bring Bowey back up by the time Washington gets to the postseason.

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