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2021-22 Rink Wrap: Conor Sheary

From Backstrom to Wilson, we’re taking a look at and grading the 2021-22 season for the players who played a significant role for the Caps during the campaign, with an eye towards 2022-23. Next up, Conor Sheary.

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Philadelphia Flyers v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Stats:

Regular Season

Playoffs

The Charts:

via The Athletic
via @JFreshHockey
via Evolving-Hockey
via HockeyViz
via HockeyViz

The Key Stat: Sheary was fourth on the team in goals for the second-consecutive season, and is one of only two Caps to be among the team’s top-five in each of the last two campaigns (with Alex Ovechkin, of course, being the other).

The Good: In his second season with the Caps, Sheary rather quietly stepped up his game and became a player his coaches clearly trusted to handle multiple situations - including top-line duties alongside Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, where only Wilson spent more time than Sheary this season. That increase in trust, of course, translated to an increase in ice time (Sheary topped 15 minutes per game for the first time since his second season), and thankfully an increase in offense, as well. Sheary’s 19-goal, 43-point campaign marked his best offensive output since back in that 2016-17 season with the Pens.

Outside of just becoming another offensive weapon for the Caps, Sheary also used his size and skill to elude both attackers and penalty calls. He ranked among the league’s top-20 in fewest giveaways per 60 with just .66, and drew far more penalties than he took, with a net penalties/60 rate of .50.

The Bad: As much of a jack-of-all-trades as Sheary became last season, there was probably a little too much dependence on him for that top-line role. The trio of Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Sheary was outshot, outchanced and outscored on a regular basis at evens despite having the two elite Russians on the ice at the same time (although to be fair, they didn’t fare much better with Wilson in that spot instead). And Sheary’s offensive spark that had made him so invaluable during the season seemed to disappear in the playoffs, with just a single point in the opening-round loss - the second-consecutive postseason run in which he managed just one point.

The Video: Sheary’s invisibility cloak was really working well on this play...

The Discussion: Sheary is heading into the second and final season of the two-year contract extension he signed last spring; is he a piece the Caps should look to lock up again after next year? Does he have the potential to crack 20 goals again or do you see this season as an outlier? What role do you think suits him best going forward, a rover who can play anywhere in the top-nine or a more established middle-six forward? And finally, what would it take for you to give Sheary a 10 next season?

The Vote: Rate Conor Sheary below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

Poll

How do you rate Conor Sheary’s 2021-22 season?

  • 2%
    10
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    9
    (7 votes)
  • 32%
    8
    (32 votes)
  • 38%
    7
    (37 votes)
  • 14%
    6
    (14 votes)
  • 4%
    5
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    4
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    3
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    2
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (0 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now