It is almost that time of year again. Camp is just around the corner, and preseason will be here before you know it. Now it is time to make some early predictions about the Washington Capitals’ top young gun, Connor McMichael.
Predicting how McMichael will do during the 2022-2023 season is a tricky thing. This offseason there was a lot of speculation that Lars Eller would get sent off in a trade after he underperformed last year. The person who people thought would step in and replace him was McMichael. Well, that didn’t happen.
Last season, McMichael had 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points in 68 games in his rookie year with Caps. Not a bad start for the young forward by any means.
Everyone probably wanted to see some more production from him, but in his first year in the NHL while he is adjusting to the speed of the highest level, he showed promise.
I hope that in year two McMichael will see an increase in his role on the team and bump those numbers. He is fully capable of getting 15 to 20 goals next year and also doubling his assists, to end around 35 points. The offensive ability is there, but the question is, will Peter Laviolette actually use him more in year two?
Realistically, right now McMichael is fighting to show the Capitals that he is the better choice for that third line center job, currently held by Lars Eller. Of the two, Lars Eller is probably better able to adjust to playing on the wing. Eller is most likely going to start the season with the job and McMichael will find himself getting more action as the season goes on. It’s possible that a rotation with Johannson and Eller and Sheary playing around McMichael at center on that third line could occur.
Washington is an older team and needs McMichael’s young explosiveness on offense. He is a weapon that needs to be utilized. If Laviolette and the Caps staff decides not to use McMichael much this year, we are probably looking at another near 20 point season or even a step back as McMichael’s confidence could waiver.