Key Stats To Watch For Connor McMichael and Joe Snively At The Start Of The 2022-23 Season

It’s a new day, a new season. A chance for young players to modify and enhance their games in advance of the approaching campaign. Younger players in particular have the capability of showing the greatest improvement from year one to year two. Making it happen is altogether another story.

For Washington Capitals young-gunners Connor McMichael and Joe Snively, there are two specific stats I’ll be watching during the opening month or two of the season, in order to tell if things might have improved or the level of play remains at the levels from last season.

Connor McMichael – (Finishing)

McMichael had a fairly decent rookie campaign, far outpacing many of the Capitals players in key offensive metrics. He did however struggle mightily in one key stat – “finishing”. Finishing is the difference between actual goals for and expected goals for (GF – xGF). Simply put, he wasn’t finishing his chances. [Click to enlarge].

McMichael finished dead-last among all Capitals forwards in finishing. The good news, he generated a lot of scoring chances and optimists and analysts, including myself, expect that number to improve significantly this season. He has pretty good play-making abilities, is a vacuum around the goal mouth and has a fairly decent shot. He’s succeeded at every challenge he’s faced since we started tracking him on draft day.

For many, including myself, it’s just a matter of time before McMichael starts scoring in bunches. He wound up shooting 8.6% last season, which isn’t bad, just below league average, and not too shabby for a rookie. I felt he was trying to be a little too fine with his shot locations, just missing corners on a regular basis. He’ll hit more of those this season. Watch this stat in the first month or two of the season.

Joe Snively – (Points/Minute)

Snively is on a different kind of a watch for me. Will there be any let up? He was playing at a very high level for the entire 2021-22 season, both in Hershey and with the Capitals, before the hand/wrist injury ended his season. Can he pick up where he left off? [Click to enlarge]

Snively was third on the Capitals in overall in points per minute of ice time last season. Aside from Garrett Pilon, who scored a goal on his only shot in the NHL, Snively was second only to Alex Ovechkin. That’s pretty impressive.

Many might think that Snively was on a bit of a heater during his 12 games with the Capitals, and that could be true. But again, he was on a heater all season. And 12 games in the NHL is a fairly decent sample size. He was simply a different player coming out of the chutes for the 2021-22 season. Snively was co-MVP on the Hershey Bears last season, even though he left the team for Washington by late January.

I expect Snively’s scoring rate will fall off a bit, but even with a slight fall off, the Capitals may have found something in signing the local undrafted free agent forward. Will he get playing time? Will it be with the right line combinations? Keep an eye on his points per minute of ice time.

I think the two areas to watch listed above will help paint the picture as far as how Connor McMichael and Joe Snively are performing at the start of the season, and potentially key indicators for how things may be proceeding in their developments.

We’ll take a look at a few of the other players and key stats to watch at the start of the season in the remaining run-up to the start of the 2022-23 season.

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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11 Responses to Key Stats To Watch For Connor McMichael and Joe Snively At The Start Of The 2022-23 Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree McMichael was trying to be too fine with his shot locations. He’ll find the back of the net more this season. My hot take, 20 goals.

  2. Anonymous says:

    or, and stay with me on this one, will HCPL ignore their talent and give their ice time to donks like marcus johansson?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      While I generally agree with your playing time comment with regards to McMichael, the stats above are essentially independent of time. He needs to convert in the time he does get.

  3. novafyre says:

    “Will he get playing time? Will it be with the right line combinations? Keep an eye on his points per minute of ice time.”

    That is key for all our rookies. To suit up and sit on the bench does nothing for the Caps, does nothing for the rookies. But they also need schemes and teammates suited to their abilities, their strengths. I think Lavi wasted MCM when he played him on the left wing. All were wasted on the bench. I also think all were wasted when told to fit in with slow plays. Speed is one of their greatest assets and hobbling them wastes that talent.

    So yes, let’s keep an eye on ice time. But also position played, teammates, and scheme they are told to play.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think they still need to convert when they do play (McMichael)z
      . That will get him more playing time in Lavi’s book.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        That’s why,I believe “finishing” is a better metric to watch for McMichael, because of his often limited playing time. Which comes first, more playing time and better finishing or better finishing and then more playing time? To Laviolette it’s the latter.

        • steven says:

          Sad that Lav doesnt know how to or care to develop young players. For me its more playing time at the same position with the same linemates creates better players and more consistncy. Sitting on the bench does nothing for a young player except let him watch the game, and at a point watching is no longr helpful ir beneficial to the player. Hopefully after this season the owner and gm will sign a HC and staff that is condusive to the rebuild and youngr players. Because of the stubberness and cap issues or gad trades we have lost several good, useful young playres: Stephenson, Siegenthaler, Boyd, Perreault, Carrick just to name a few and isnt it time that management stops letting young players go just to get older and more expensive players and end up in the same place at the end of the season?

          • Jon Sorensen says:

            I’m generally with you on this, Steven. In addition, Lavi has shown he is very hesitant to rotate in-layers on a regular basis. His belief is to go with the best you got each night, which might be best for winning that night, but not necessarily the best long-term strategy for winning.

  4. Dan says:

    @novafyre – maybe worse take. Sheesh. Rookies need to earn time. Not sitting healthy stars for these guys. Sheeesh, backy started on 4th, so did Wilson…

  5. steven says:

    I think McMichael is not one of those players who can sit for periods of time and then suddenlt produce. I think he needs consistant playing time at the same position and with the same linemates. Truly a shame that the HC is not going to let that happen as he will play MoJo more no matter how useles he is or how unproductive. YOung guys, especially when you are facing a rebuild or retool need playing time not washed up players like MoJo. the same can be said for Snively. Even with all the players acquired this summer and with the apparent thought that they are still a Cup team, this team is not a CUp team and sa to say may not even make the playoffs. Isnt it time that management realizes that and gets a HC who will play the younger players consistantly and see what we have and dont have and need to draft or trade for!

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