Two Washington Capitals prospects are ready to take the next steps in their pro hockey careers and will do so with the AHL’s Hershey Bears next season.
Hershey inked forward Bear Hughes and defenseman Benton Maass to AHL deals for the 2022-23 season.
Hughes, an Idaho native, served as the WHLs Spokane Chiefs captain this past season. He was named the Players’ Player of the Year and had a career campaign in 2021-22, dishing a career-high 24 goals, 43 assists and 67 points through 64 games this season. Washington had selected Hughes in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft (No. 148).
The 6-2, 175-pound forward is a versatile, strong two-way player who goes hard in puck battles, skates well and can maintain control to generate quality scoring chances.
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Maass, meanwhile, took the NCAA route. The Capitals selected the 6-3, 205-pound blueliner in the sixth round (No. 182) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He played four years with the University of New Hampshire before spending last season with Minnesota State University, where he dished three goals and 11 assists through 42 games. Maass also played one AHL game with the Bears this past season.
The Minnesota native went unsigned and is a strong, disciplined defenseman who can log heavy minutes, kill penalties, block shots and play a shutdown game while using his size and skating to his advantage. Not only that, but he has shown potential as a puck-moving defenseman who can join the rush to boot.