The Washington Capitals announced on Sunday morning that they have loaned forward Connor McMichael to the Hershey Bears.
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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.
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%.
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].
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.
By Jon Sorensen