On Sunday, February 20 Connor McMichael scored a hat trick with the Hershey Bears. That game was only his fifth game so far this season with the Bears and his fifth ever game at the AHL level. This performance makes it worthwhile to look at McMichael’s past and begin thinking about his future with the Washington Capitals.
Connor McMichael is a 20-year-old center from Ajax, Canada. He stands at 6-foot tall and weighs 187 pounds. McMichael shoots left and has been praised for his ability to generate smart plays. He excels at playmaking and anticipating the movement of the puck. McMichael’s skating ability and puckhandling are also noteworthy.
The Washington Capitals selected center Connor McMichael with the 25th pick of the first round in 2019. McMichael has since excelled on the Canadian Under 20 men’s national team, serving as an alternate captain in the 2021 World Junior Championships where he accumulated eight points in seven games. His success on the national team comes as no surprise after he showcased his talent with the London Knights in the 2019-2020 season, contributing 102 points in 52 games.
McMichael entered the 2021 NHL training camps as a promising young player and an excellent option for Washington. With the absence of numerous Washington players in January 2021, McMichael was given an opportunity. He made his NHL debut with the Capitals on January 24 against the Buffalo Sabres. He played at left-wing for 9:54 and had one shot on goal. Though McMichael did not make the highlight reels in this 4-3 shootout loss, the NHL debut is an important step in a player’s career.
The Capitals declined to move McMichael to their taxi squad following his debut, instead moving him to the Hershey Bears. Barring injuries or COVID-19 related absences the likelihood of Connor McMichael returning to the Washington lineup this season is slim. However, McMichael’s skill and determination are likely to gain him a successful future with the Capitals.
The Capitals are a hockey team with a significant amount of offensive depth. From superstar Alex Ovechkin to a gritty fourth line it is hard to deny the offensive power this organization brings. However, the Capitals are facing a number of contracts that expire in the next few years.
Forwards Alex Ovechkin, Jakub Vrana and Connor Sheary all enter free agency at the end of the 2021 NHL season. The end of the 2022-23 season brings free agency to forwards Nic Dowd and Daniel Sprong. Even further down the line at the end of the 2023-24 season, forwards Lars Eller, Richard Panik, Carl Hagelin and Garnet Hathaway all enter free agency.
It is highly unlikely that the Capitals will be able to extend the contracts of all of these players. Washington will need to acquire skilled offensive players to add to their lineup. There is no better place to look for new additions than in one’s own organization, bringing opportunity to McMichael and other prospects.
Looking at the skill and promise of an organization’s prospects is a good way to make predictions on their future. Connor McMichael, forward Hendrix Lapierre, defenseman Martin Fehervary, and defenseman Alexander Alexeyv give Capitals fans much to look forward to in the coming seasons.
“From Our Haus to Yours“