The Washington Capitals infatuation with former Pittsburgh Penguins continued last off-season. This time around they added the likes of Justin Shultz and Conor Sheary. They are added to the list of Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Todd Reirden as a coach, and Carl Hagelin. That’s a lot of former rivals in a fairly short amount of time.
Some have had more success, and a lot more team success in that time. Orpik and Niskanen helped the Caps win the Stanley Cup in 2018 with Reirden being an assistant coach. Hagelin, Shultz and Sheary still waiting for success while in the capital city.
For the latter three you have to look at how they have done individually to see if they have been good additions rather than looking at team results. Schultz looked pretty good with the Caps last season while healthy and Hagelin has become a part of a great fourth line.
When you look at Sheary and his stats, he had a good season. He scored 14 goals and put up 22 points while mostly being a third line guy for the Capitals. Those stats are pretty much what you can expect from Sheary. In 2016-17 in 61 games played he scored 23 goals and 53 points with the Penguins, those are his career highs. Since then his best season is 14 goals and 30 points, that was the 2018-19 season, his first in Buffalo. He scored 18 goals in his last season in Pittsburgh in 2017-18.
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If you give Sheary 79 games played this season on the pace he was on he could have scored around 20 goals and somewhere in the area of 32 points for the Caps this past season. In terms of goals that would have been his second best season and his third best season when talking about points. Again, all this while mostly being a depth guy.
When talking about production I think it’s fair to say Sheary had a very good season. If the Capitals can get production like that from him again while playing third line time it would be a win for them.
Something I found interesting when digging deeper into stats is these two numbers. Sheary was third on the Capitals in individual scoring chances with 93. He was behind only Ovechkin who had 144 and Oshie who had 120. He was also third in individual high danger attempts with 48. Again he was behind Ovechkin who had 52 and Oshie who led the team with 55.
The rest of Sheary’s advanced stats for the season looked like this.
Corsi % – 53.77%
Scoring Chance For % – 54.23%
High Danger Attempts % – 55.78%
Expected Goals For % – 55.71%
All of those are good numbers and all of them are top ten on the team with Corsi and Expected Goals were top five on the team.
All of those numbers took a big dive in the playoffs. All of those stats were near the bottom of the team in the postseason except for the high danger attempts which were top ten, and his high danger number wasn’t pretty either which tells you how bad the Capitals were vs Boston. Here are those playoff numbers.
Corsi % – 43.80%
Scoring Chance For % – 44.26%
High Danger Attempts % – 38.10%
Expected Goals For % – 36.09%
Again, the high danger number was top ten on this team. Ouch! Sheary was a third line player all season for the most part and that didn’t change in the playoffs. He played most of his time with Lars Eller and Eller was battling injuries late in the season and in the playoffs. Eller is the key guy on that line and when he isn’t going and battling injuries you can see why the numbers of the entire line drop.
Sheary did have a goal in the playoffs, so I guess he did better than some people.
Grade B+: I was going to give Sheary a lower B grade but then looking at all of his numbers it seemed a higher grade was necessary. If you can get another season like this from Sheary it would be a big win for Washington. If you can get around 20 or even over 20 goals and into the mid 30’s in points from a third line winger who has a cap hit of $1.5m that would be terrific. That’s pretty much what Sheary did this season. For that reason, he get’s a very good B+.