Connor McMichael Loaned To Hershey Bears

The Washington Capitals announced on Sunday morning that they have loaned forward Connor McMichael to the Hershey Bears.


ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned forward Connor McMichael to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

McMichael, 21, has appeared in six games with the Capitals this season. The 6’0″, 182-pound forward recorded 18 points (9g, 9a) in 68 games with Washington during the 2021-22 season, leading Capitals rookies in goals and points.

McMichael, the Capitals’ first-round choice, 25th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut on Jan. 24, 2021 against the Buffalo Sabres. McMichael led Hershey in goals (14) and points (27) in his first AHL season in 2020-21, appearing in all 33 of the Bears’ games. The Ajax, Ontario native ranked tied for second in goals and sixth in points among AHL rookies and ranked first in game-winning goals (8) and tied for fourth in power play goals (6) among all AHL skaters. McMichael was named to the AHL North Division All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie Team, becoming the first Capitals prospect to receive the honor since John Carlson (2009-10).

McMichael has twice represented Canada at the World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal at the 2020 tournament and earning a silver medal in 2021. McMichael recorded a goal and an assist in the 2020 gold-medal game and finished with seven points (5g, 2a) in seven games in the tournament, the second most goals on Canada and tied for the fourth most goals among all players. During the 2021 World Junior Championship, he recorded eight points (4g, 4a) in seven games.

In 75 career NHL games with the Capitals, Michael has recorded 18 points (9g, 9a).

McMichael had a pretty good 2021-22 season. He recorded 9 goals and 9 assists in 74 games and led the entire team in expected goals for percentage (xGF%) for the entire season. That’s a fairly decent rookie campaign.

As we noted in the original post back in October, a noticeable shift in McMichael’s performance was first realized during the 2022-23 pre-season. McMichael appeared in four preseason games, recorded just four shots, no goals and just one assist. He also posted the second worst expected goals for percentage (43.59%) among all forwards to make the Capitals opening night roster.

2022-23 SEASON

The first quarter of the season has seen McMichael’s downward trend continue. He’s appeared intermittently in six of the Capitals 20 games so far this season.

In his last game against the Blues in St. Louis, a game in which the Capitals dominated possession, McMichael was the only Capitals player with an xGF% below 50%.

McMichael also posted a team-low 8:01 of time on ice in Thursday’s game against the Blues. Is this the issue or a symptom? That remains to be seen.


The following graph plots the expected goals for percentage (xGF%) for each of the Capitals skaters for the first 19 games of the season. [Click to enlarge].

On a positive note, the move likely indicates that Dmitry Orlov or T.J. Oshie (or another injured Capitals player) is ready to return to the active roster.

The Capitals will practice today, again on Monday and have the day off on Tuesday before they next host the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

The Bears are off to a good start so far this season (9-3-2-0 (20 points). They next play at 4:30 this afternoon when they host the Hartford Wolf Pack at Giant Center. Puck drop is set for 4:30 PM.

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary.]

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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17 Responses to Connor McMichael Loaned To Hershey Bears

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is bad management. Why have him sit in a press box last night when he could have been playing a game in Hershey?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s about damn time!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Trade him!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Why? He’s still developing. If we traded all 21-year-old first round draft picks not performing at top level, we would have traded Tom Wilson, etc.

    • novafyre says:

      As someone who wants the Bears to win the Calder Cup, I disagree. Even if McM ends up not helping the Caps this year, he can still help the Bears. And I agree with Jon that it is too early in his career to write off future achievements. Remember Forsberg.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m happy that he’s going to get playing time. I get why they tried to give him that many chances but he just hadn’t looked comfortable. Hershey is pretty stacked at Center (they had to send Bear Hughes down to Carolina) so I also get why they held off for so long. People were already complaining about Hendrix only being on the third line, it’s going to get even tougher getting everyone time with Mickey back.

    Also agree for people to be a bit more patient with him. Tage Thompson in Buffalo took a bit longer than anticipated to get going as well. Not everyone of these kids is Ovi.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Maybe sarcasm

  6. dwgie26 says:

    I think the Caps gave him opportunities. Then injuries mounted and they had to hold him in Washington longer that I would have liked, but injuries dictated that. Excited to see him go to Hershey and get his wheels going. Suck down a lot of minutes on PP, PK, and ES.

    Now it is on CMM (again). If he doesn’t earn playing time and get going, you can’t blame Lavi or GMBM. CMM has to show something. Really hope he does. Would be a great outcome to see him get a lot of time, points, and show leadership. I hope he is up for it and doesn’t sulk because he got sent down.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When do other players have to show something? Team has sucked and CM has sat. Anyone else accountable or do we blame him for the poor performance.

    • dwgie26 says:

      I would like to see other show something as well. Obviously can’t sit all of them. But I just don’t have time to explain how NHL (or any professional sport) works. I don’t think McMichael has been the problem, but he hasn’t added anything. Nothing.

  8. Jon Sorensen says:

    McMichael on the ice for today’s warmups. He’ll slot in at 2C:

  9. Anonymous says:

    But please enlighten us all on how sports work.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Thrilled for McMichael. I’m sure he’s happy to get on the ice and work out the kinks.

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