Pheonix Copley of North Pole, one of only two Alaska goaltenders to play in the NHL, has re-signed with the Washington Capitals for a two-year deal worth as much as $1.3 million, the team announced Wednesday.
Copley, 25, would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Copley's new deal is a two-way contract in the upcoming season and a one-way contract in 2018-19. That means Copley next season will earn $650,000 at the NHL level and $200,000 in the American Hockey League, one notch below the NHL, the world's best league. In 2018-19, Copley will earn $650,000 no matter where he plays.
This is Copley's second go-round with the Caps. They signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2014, shortly after he finished his sophomore season at Michigan Tech. Washington traded Copley to the St. Louis Blues in 2015 as part of a deal that landed the Caps winger T.J. Oshie and reacquired Copley last season as part of a deal with St. Louis that delivered the Caps prized defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
Copley has played in two NHL games, both with the Blues. Anchorage's Ty Conklin, who played nine seasons in the NHL before retiring in 2012, is the only other Alaska goalie to play in the NHL.
In Washington, Braden Holtby owns the crease. He was a second-team all-star last season and a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best masked man. No. 2 on the Caps' depth chart in goal is Philipp Grubauer, who will be a restricted free agent and is expected to get a new deal from the club.
Copley last season for Chicago and Hershey of the AHL went 26-11-5 with a 2.25 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout. He shined for Hershey in the Calder Cup playoffs — 5-4, 2.13, .933, one shutout — before an injury ended his season.
Copley in two years at Michigan Tech went 18-28-7, 2.82, .906, with four shutouts.
The Capitals also include another Alaska connection. Veteran center Jay Beagle played two seasons at UAA before turning pro.