I wrote an opinion article over the weekend about Connor McMichael. Entitled If the Capitals aren’t going to play Connor McMichael, they should send him to Hershey, I made the case why McMichael — who is waiver exempt — should be playing in the AHL if the Capitals aren’t going to give him a sweater during games.
Conventional wisdom is that McMichael should be playing in games to continue growing as a player. If he doesn’t get games at the NHL level, then he should get hard minutes in the minor leagues so he’ll be confident when called upon — even if it’s next season — as the Capitals have 13 free agents over the summer.
On Monday, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette was asked about McMichael’s situation after the morning skate. The 2019 first-round pick will sit again tonight against the New Jersey Devils. It marks the sixth time out of seven games McMichael has sat.
Laviolette said this per the Capitals:
He was here the entire year last year. He played well. There was times I thought he looked really good. Some of those games were at center. There’s times when I think young players look like they need to continue to work on their game. He’s a good kid. He works hard every day. When we have used him he’s played well. There’s always decisions on drawing into the lineup and who goes in. Tonight, the position that is available — Conor Sheary was there — and so Connor Brown goes down and now we have to use Conor Sheary on right wing somewhere else. It left a position open where we want to try Beck there tonight.
Mikey’s, he’s a good player that’s developing, that’s getting better as he stays here and practices and plays games, and gathers experience. He’ll continue to grow and get better.
Beck Malenstyn will make his season debut for the Capitals on the fourth line.
During his only appearance this season against the Senators, McMichael had no points and got into his first NHL fight to stand up for John Carlson. Per Natural Stat Trick, the Caps were out-shot 18 attempts to three while McMichael was on the ice.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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