There has been quite a bit of discussion surrounding Washington Capitals forward prospects Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre over the recent months, and rightfully so. The pair are arguably two of the Capitals upper-tier prospects and both look to be part of the Capitals future.
There has also been quite a bit of discussion regarding who should be in Washington, who should be in Hershey, who is the better prospects, etc., etc. As a result, I thought it would be helpful to lay out some of the basic information for both prospects to better frame debate going forward.
This piece is not a vote or push for one player or the other, just a presentation of the pertinent details for each player, in order to layout the facts related to their own unique development timeline. You can decide for yourself…if you feel you need to decide at this point in time.
McMichael, 21, is a 6’0”, 180 lb forward, selected by the Capitals in the first round (25th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Ajax, Ontario native signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Capitals on July 12, 2019 for $925,000 AAV.
Lapierre, 20, is a 6’-0”, 180 lb forward from Gatineau, Quebec. He was drafted by the Capitals in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract on October 27, 2020, for an average annual value of $925,000. With two year’s of entry-level slides, he will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2025.
The following provides a brief overview of each of the player’s development over the past three seasons:
McMichael – in his last season in the juniors (2019-20), he recorded 47 goals and 55 assists in 52 games played (1.96 points per game).
Lapierre – in his last year in the juniors (2021-22), he recorded 21 goals and 30 assists in 40 games played (1.28 points per game).
McMichael – was selected to the Canadian National Junior team twice (2019-20 and 2020-21) and recorded nine goals and six assists in 14 games played in the IIHF World Junior Championship. McMichael was an assistant captain for the 2020-21 team.
Lapierre – was eligible to play the for Canadian National Junior team for three seasons due to Covid pandemic. He was invited to two selection camps but cut from both camps and was not invited to tryout for the third time this past summer.
McMichael – recorded 13 goals, 14 assists in 33 games (.82 points per game) – 127 shots for a 10.2% shooting percentage.
Lapierre – has recorded 3 goals, 7 assists in 12 games played (.83 points per game) – 26 shots for a 11.5% shooting percentage.
McMichael – has nine goals and nine assists in 74 career games. He had a team-high expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 56.45% for all forwards for the 2021-22 season and has a team low xGF% of 20.68% this season.
Lapierre – has a goal in six games played and xGF% of 47.40% for the 2021-22 season
McMichael is 12 months older than Lapierre, but went through the AHL at a younger age. Lapierre has missed quite a few games in his Junior seasons due to injury and Covid, so one could argue he is more than a year behind McMichael with regards to game experience.
It’s often stated that the biggest jump for a player in their development is from the juniors to the AHL, and both players have appeared to make that jump without much of an issue. It’s still early in Lapierre’s AHL career, but he is scoring and continues to work on his defensive game.
Regardless of your opinion on who should be playing and where, the one thing that is certain is that both players are young and still developing. My personal recommendation is that you wait two years to decide anything regarding both players.
By Jon Sorensen