The Washington Capitals are one of the oldest, veteran heavy teams in the NHL but one player in the middle of both veteran and young is Conor Sheary who is on the wrong side of his 20s but has yet to hit his 30s. The Caps believed in Sheary enough to give him a contract extension before the season ended.
The Caps originally signed Sheary to a one year deal worth $735,000 in late December looking for a depth, utility forward. Sheary spent a lot of time prior to signing that contract waiting around and wondering what his hockey future would entail.
Through 53 games, Sheary scored 14 goals and added eight assists for 22 points. As the season started and kept progressing, Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff noticed his blue collar effort and was given an increase in ice time and an permanent spot in the lineup.
In March the team began to construct a new contract with his agent and Sheary and the Caps came to an agreement in April. Sheary signed a two year extension worth $3 million. All he wanted in the beginning of the season was a fair shot to play. He overcame being a healthy scratch early in the season and earned that opportunity and that contract extension.
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Laviolette told the media via Samantha Pell of The Washington Post (subscription required):
"“What you really got to like about it was it wasn’t handed to him. He didn’t come into camp and get put on a line with Nick Backstrom. He came into camp and he had to fight for his opportunity, and when he got his opportunity, he had to continue to push, continue to fight and make a case. He’s been impressive with the way he’s gone about his business.”"
Sheary contributed on three lines this season including some time on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin. He also knows a thing or two about playing alongside stars as a two time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Last offseason, Sheary was unsure of his future. This offseason he knows he’s spending the next two years in Washington, unless of course the Caps decide to expose him in the expansion draft and he gets taken by the Seattle Kraken. But he should see an even bigger role and make a bigger impact with the Caps next season.
Sheary loves the winning environment he’s come into. In an article by Sammi Silber from Japers Rink, he explained:
"“I came into a winning team and a winning culture, and I think I fit into kind of that mold. I’m a complimentary player who can play up and down the lineup and with the skill and talent on this team, I was able to fit in seamlessly and have success.”"
With an 82 game season coming up, Sheary could really kill it and have a 20 goal season. It would be the first time he did that since the last season he won a Stanley Cup when he had 23 in 2016-17. He has the potential to be one of those breakout players next year and that’s why GMBM gave him that contract extension.