Capitals GM Brian McLellan On Connor McMichael: “He’s Probably A Year Ahead Of Schedule”

Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan met with the media at the end of the first day of free agency, last Wednesday. The annual presser often signals the end of MacLellan’s wheeling and dealing for the free agency period.

But not this year, as Macllelan went well into the second day, acquiring center Dylan Strome. As a result, MacLellan held a second media availability on Wednesday morning.

MacLellan’s free agency acquisitions will most likely mean fewer opportunities for certain prospects already in the system. MacLellan reiterated that there were no guarantees for the younger prospects, and that they will have to earn a spot on the roster.

“It’s a competitive situation. I don’t think we’re coming in guaranteeing young guys spots in the lienup. Part of it is you have to earn it, to a certain degree,” said MacLellan.

One position where the Capitals are now deep at is the center position. The Capitals currently have five centers on their roster, which brings some uncertainty to sophomore center Connor McMichael and his role on the team.

McMichael had a positive rookie campaign, although the scoring never fully materialized, at least based on his standards. McMichael was also limited in playing time through much of the season.

“I think Connor’s gonna come in, he’s gonna be better than he was last year. It’s gonna be, “how do we best develop him, how do we do what’s best for our lineup. Coaches will balance that out. Whether we play him at center, whether we play him at wing. Do we play him hgher in the lineup? do we play him lower in the lineup? I think he will have a shot at all of it. If he plays well, it will be a tough decision for the coaches.”

McMichael’s versatility and ability to play both center and wing will no doubt help his cause, but MacLellan prefers Michael at center.

“I think he’s an option on both. Based on last year’s performance, I like him in the middle, more. He seems to be more involved, he seems to skate more. I like his game more when he plays center. Doesn’t mean we have to play him there all the time. We can play him there sometimes, we can move him around.”

MacLellan stopped short of projecting where he thought McMichael would land at the start of the season. A big part of it is still undecided and won’t be determined until training camp. But all in all, he likes where McMichael is at with regards to his development.

“He’s probably a year ahead of schedule. He came in the American League a year early, because Covid. We like where’s he’s at. We think he’s gonna be a good player. He’s gonna make some strides this year, and we can play him at both positions.”

MacLellan’s full presser:

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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13 Responses to Capitals GM Brian McLellan On Connor McMichael: “He’s Probably A Year Ahead Of Schedule”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Will he play more than 5 minutes though?

  2. novafyre says:

    If he’s going to sit on the bench or press box, send him to Hershey where he can play.

  3. Anonymous says:

    They need to give Connor 15 minutes a game for the first 20 games of the season, then make a decision. He needs a full shot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Give him 5 minutes and 90 15 minutes including PP. nauseating.

  5. Anonymous says:

    mclellan and caps coaches couldn’t care less about anyone under the age of 30. been a problem for YEARS. develop and upgrade from within is the key…but these inept clowns can’t do that, and that’s why we’ve only won ONE Stanley Cup in Ovechkins career. Sadly, HCPL is just another clown that panders to veterans and punishes younger players for the same mistakes that he ignores in veterans….meanwhile Jared Bednar won the Cup with the Avs…you know the same guy our front office ignored. It’s an organizational problem.

    • DWGie26 says:

      Hmm… lets see. They played a 22 year rookie dee on first pairing a lot of minutes. They signed a 26 year old rookie to two-year deal. They traded for 28 year old forward. Signed a 25 year old center. have plans for developing a 21 year old center (toughest position in hockey). Seems like a lot of under 30 guys. But yes, they have to earn it over the veterans.

      And while we’re at it, expect Caps to extend Lavi 2-3 years. And that too will be a good strong move by GMBM.

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