Multiple sources are reporting that Washington Capitals GM George McPhee announced yesterday that Nathan Walker signed a one year contract to play with the Caps AHL affiliate. According to reports they weren't able to sign him to a NHL contract due to the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, but were able to sign him to a minor league deal, which won't prevent him from being eligible for the next NHL draft. I always thought it was quite the opposite with junior hockey players, they could be sign a NHL contract but not be sent to the minor affiliate, but he's technically a European import who did play in the Czech majors and most of my CBA understanding is based on Canadian major junior.
Since I don't fully understand the move for several reasons, particularly the Capitals motivation other than to get him some work in the system. They stand to lose him in the draft if he gathers any more attention. Is the move in Walkers best interest? My gut always suspects the motivation to move a guy to the pros, even the minors, this early. But I do think Stormy can use the exposure and experience to get a nod in his final chance at the draft, so long as he gets the ice time. If he get paid, that's always a bonus and with him playing abroad, mostly as an unpaid amateur, since he was 12 years old, that's got to be a bonus.
Just for references sake, here is an article from a great Caps blog that breaks down what is known, really just a Tweet at this point, and a look at how it works under the CBA. Also I'll point out as of 9/20 he was off the protected list, which only listed 22 players for the Phantoms.