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Get to Know a Penguin: Conor Sheary

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As part of the build-up to the second-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Penguins, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Penguins and how they might impact the series.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Conor Sheary

#43 / Left Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins

Height: 5-8 | Weight: 175 | Born: August 6, 1992

Birthplace: Winchester, Massachusetts | Undrafted

Assets Is a natural point producer with a great hockey brain and offensive instincts. Shoots the puck well (and often), and he generates a ton of offense at lower levels.
Flaws Can he survive the National Hockey League game at his diminutive size and with his lack of strength? The jury is still out. Must also work on his play without the puck.
Career Potential Diminutive depth scoring winger with a little upside. (Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career 25-Game Rolling Five-On-Five Corsi-For Percentage:

Sheary Rolling CF%

2015-16 Even-Strength Usage Chart

PIT Usage

Why you should know who he is: Despite playing in 44 total NHL games over the course of his entire career, this 5-foot-8 speedster is lining up on Sidney Crosby's left side in the playoffs, and that automatically makes Sheary a dangerous player. And he's not there by mistake; Sheary alongside Crosby simply works. In 67:34 minutes of 5v5 time together during the regular season, Sheary and Crosby produced 79.0 shot attempts per 60 minutes of play, recording a Corsi-For percentage of 66.9 percent. That's higher than Crosby's shot attempt percentage with Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist and Carl Hagelin. Crosby's percentage without Sheary? 53.6 percent. Sheary without Crosby? 55.5 percent. He's a pretty solid player.

How the Caps can stop him (assuming he hasn't been stopped already): One of the reasons Crosby likely enjoys playing with Sheary is because of his high level of energy. Sheary is aggressive defensively, especially on the forecheck. Of Sheary's nine goals this year (seven in the regular season and two in the playoffs), two came directly off of a forced turnover due to a strong forecheck. Another two came off of strong forechecks, but Sheary headed straight to the net for a tip in off of a teammate's shot.

But of his nine goals, none were due to the Penguins maintaining position in the offensive zone and looking for Sheary to put it away. Every one of his goals came off of odd man rushes, aggressive forechecks or breakaways. If the Capitals play smart in their own zone, respect Sheary's speed and recognize that he will be aggressive defensively, that should automatically minimize his scoring chances. His entire game is based off of forced turnovers and creating rushes.

He's not a guy that is going to drive straight at the net and score a goal. In fact, his 12.11 on-ice high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes of 5v5 was just the 17th-best rate on the Penguins this year. And he personally managed to record just 28 high-danger chances for himself this year. That all might be due to the fact that he's 5-foot-8 and can't drive to the net all that much.

And, sure, he did co-lead the Penguins in even-strength, 5v5 points in their opening series against the Rangers, but do we really believe Sheary will rock a 22.2 shooting percentage against Braden Holtby?

Heavy doses of smart, physical play should do the trick. He's just quick and aggressive. So just knock him around a bit and be smart about it.

Previously: Matt Murray | Patric Hornqvist | Tom Kuhnhackl | Eric Fehr | Nick Bonino