Photo: Jordan Bondurant/NoVa Caps
With 69 career games already under his belt, Caps center Connor McMichael is itching to be a regular starter.
The Caps 2019 first round pick scored nine goals in 68 appearances last season but has been a healthy scratch in all four games so far in the 2022-23 campaign. McMichael said after practice Tuesday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex that he’s used to having to be patient to get game reps.
“It’s nothing I haven’t been through before,” he said. “I just got to kind of wait my turn and stay ready and stay focused. And that’s what I’ve been doing.”
McMichael could get a chance in Ottawa on Thursday, with fellow center Evgeny Kuznetsov suspended one game for high-sticking Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs during Monday night’s 6-4 victory.
McMichael could also find himself in the lineup with Connor Brown being further evaluated for a lower-body injury he sustained during Monday’s win.
Head coach Peter Laviolette acknowledged that both McMichael and Joe Snively could be called upon.
“We’ve got guys that are itching to play if it comes to that,” he said. “Snively’s been working hard, McMichael’s working hard. These guys want to play. They don’t like being out of the lineup and are coming off of good training camps and so they want to get back in.”
Connor said at the present moment he’s utilizing his time with the team to keep his conditioning up.
“I’m just focused on doing what I can do out there and doing extra things in practice that keep my conditioning ready for when I do get into get into the game,” he said.
Still, McMichael said he stays hungry to remain a regular part of the Caps lineup.
“Especially when you’ve experienced it before,” he said. “You want to get back to that point and be a regular guy in the lineup and help the team win. That’s what I’m focused on doing, and I hope I can do that pretty soon here.”
By Jordan Bondurant
We are patiently waiting too, Connor!
Why do I feel like the same thing is going to him that happened to Jonas Siegenthaler?
If McM gets traded, it’d be for immediate help in terms of a refular NHL contributor. His value as a prospect is much higher than Siegenthaler’s ever was.
I loved Siegenthaler, but for clarification, you are talking about a guy who has 177 NHL game with 3 goals and 25 assists in that career span. Not exactly earth shattering. I didn’t want to see him go, but we do have good defensemen on this team.
Siegenthaler has become a pretty good defensemen in New Jersey, because he’s playing everyday.
Jonas became one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL in Jersey (when given playing time). While that is certainly higher than his projected ceiling at the time, it’s not that much higher. He was always thought of a top 4 shut down guy and we traded him to play a past-his-prime Chara. Obviously, hindsight is 20-20 and the Caps were “win now,” but that’s almost a Forsberg for Erat trade there.
So the idea of moving 24 for an aging star at the deadline is an apt comparison, if he goes on to meet his potential that is, in my opinion.
I tend to think the reason for him sitting in the press box is a disconnect between Lavvy and GMBM on his current value, which makes me think GMBM won’t trade him for a rental. But that’s pure conjecture.
He won’t be. We’ll have plenty of spots on the roster next year. He’ll stay (unless we get extreme highway robbery from someone else).
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby: “I Was Super Excited… It Means The Team Believes In You.” Axel said he sees more opportunity in Winnipeg than in Washington.
That’s because they weren’t as deep as our camp roster.
I hate to keep using Philadelphia Phillies analogies, Jon, but this year the Phillies took off only after getting rid of their establishment (experienced, has won it all) manager Joe Girardi because he refused to use the team’s young talent. The Caps are a deeply veteran team that tired badly at the close of last year.
If HCPL thinks his veterans are going to be better this year than they were last year, he’s mistaken. Play more youth! They tend to improve over the season. Check out the Phillies.
lol, You are allowed one Philadelphia Phillies reference per day 🙂
And Girardi might just be the best analogy to this point.