Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Capitals make history by taking Australian in third round

Wing Nathan Walker became the first Australian drafted when the Capitals took him in the third round Saturday.

Walker, 20, was born in Wales, grew up in Australia and at age 13 moved to the Czech Republic to play juniors. The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder played for Australia at the Division II world championship in 2011 and at the Group B world championship in 2012.

Undrafted last year, Walker signed with the Capitals' AHL affiliate in Hershey, Pa. He had five goals and six assists in 43 games.

His agent, Allen Walsh, said on Twitter he got a message from Walker that said, "We're going nuts in my house. I'm speechless."

The pick generated excitement in Australia.

"It is one of the biggest achievements ever by an Australian sports­man," wrote Will Brodie of the Sydney Morning Herald. "It is the equivalent of an Australian getting drafted to the NFL as a running back, not a punter."

No Spezza trade: Jason Spezza refused to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Predators, Senators general manager Bryan Murray said. The center, who had 23 goals and 43 assists last season, has asked to be dealt. But Nashville is one of 10 teams on his no-trade list. Murray did not say whom the Predators would have given up.

Leafs-Blues trade: Toronto got defenseman Roman Polak for defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and a 2014 fourth-rounder. Last season Polak was second on the Blues with 131 blocked shots. Gunnarsson had three goals and 12 assists while averaging 19:24 per game.

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