The Hershey Bears are the AHL affiliate to the Washington Capitals. They are 11-4-2 with 24 points in the 2021 season and are currently on a four-game winning streak. They play next on Wednesday, March 31 at 7:30 pm EST against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Bears’ success in recent games has been attributed to determining play, teamwork and the help of forwarding Philippe Maillet. Maillet, who made his season debut last week, tallied eight points and a plus-eight rating in just three games. His contributions earned him the honor of CCM/AHL Player of the Week.
Maillet’s recent success makes it worthwhile to examine his career thus far and take a look at what could come for him in the future within the Washington Capitals organization.
Philippe Maillet is a 28-year-old center from Quebec. He shoots left and has good playmaking abilities. He is a consistent presence on offense and tends to pick up points on a regular basis.
Maillet entered the AHL with the Ontario Reign near the end of the 2016-2017 season following the culmination of his season at the University of New Brunswick. He stayed with the Reign until the end of the 2018-2019 season, tallying a total of 96 points in 144 games for Ontario. Maillet then found himself on the Hershey Bears for the 2019-2020 season.
In 61 games with Hershey Maillet put up 44 points, making him the point leader for the team during that season. The Bears did not make the playoffs and the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Maillet was invited to the Washington Capitals return to play camp in July 2020. Maillet did not accompany the Capitals to the playoff bubble for the 2020 playoffs, but he did earn the opportunity to show off his skills.
At the start of the 2021 season, Maillet was assigned to Hershey. He was placed on the Capitals taxi squad near the end of January. Maillet had the opportunity to make his NHL debut on February 7, 2021, when Washington had a number of absences.
Maillet was reassigned from the taxi squad to the Hershey Bears on March 24, 2021. He has performed admirably thus far and is likely to continue to perform well.
What Does the Future Hold?
Maillet is a talented player. While he may not become an NHL superstar, he is sure to be a useful asset. It is essential that Maillet be allowed to play at the NHL level and get comfortable with the style of play. With a little experience and familiarity with a team, he should be able to get into scoring and making plays.
Maillet’s contract with Washington is set to expire at the end of the 2021 season. His performance in Hershey and his previous performances with Ontario has proved his worth as a prospect. It remains unclear if Washington will extend his contract.
If Washington does sign Maillet they will retain a skilled center, something that a team always seems to need. Maillet could also enter the game for Washington as a winger. If Washington chooses to let Maillet leave, he will likely sign with another team. There are plenty of teams in the NHL who could use another forward. Even if he does not have much experience, he could still be very useful and develop his skill throughout the season.
Maillet’s past week has held success for him and the Hershey Bears. His achievements in the AHL and determination to achieve a spot NHL are likely to gain him a future with an NHL team, hopefully on their full-time roster.