Once On Pace For A Career Year Conor Sheary Cannot Buy A Goal

Conor Sheary, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Conor Sheary, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Since joining the Washington Capitals, Conor Sheary has been a pretty good player. He is a guy that brings speed to the lineup and with that speed he brings the ability to score. He can also play up and down the lineup and not look too out of place, really anywhere.

In his first year in D.C. which was the shortened 2020-21 season he scored 14 goals in 53 games. Over an 82 game season that put him on pace for 21 goals. Nothing incredibly special, but that would have been just his second career twenty goal season.

Last season in 71 games played he scored another 19 goals. Nine is always a pretty annoying number isn’t it? That number meaning you are just one away from another “milestone” number. In this instance Sheary was just one away from having another twenty goal season.

This season was looking good for Sheary. While the team did not get off to the greatest of starts, Sheary did. In the team’s first 38 games of the season number 73 scored a total of 11 goals. Four of those goals coming in the teams first seven games of the season.

A twenty goal season seemed likely once again for Sheary. He was the team’s second leading goal scorer behind, well, never mind. We all know who he was behind. But that guy had 23 goals 38 games into the season.

It was also great that Sheary was scoring goals because the team needed him now more than ever. The Capitals were missing two or sometimes three key players during that time. Not to mention guys who Washington was relying on to help score some goals were not scoring goals. Guys like Anthony Mantha, and Evgneny Kuznetsov. Mantha having 8 goals and Kuznetsov having 6 goals at that time. The needed guys to step up. Sheary was doing that.

If Sheary continued to score goals at that pace he had a chance to set a new career high in goals. His career high in goals is 23, which is set back in Pittsburgh in 16-17, and he was on pace for around, wait for it, 23. He would need to find just one more goal in the final forty plus games of the regular season to set a new career mark.

Now we jump to current day. We have now played not 38 games in the season, but 70. It is no longer late December, it is in fact mid to late March. Conor Sheary now has a total of 12 goals.

Unfortunately, both for the team and himself, Sheary has scored just one goal over the last 32 games played. That is a pretty remarkable cold streak. To make things a little worse, it is not like that one goal has come recently. His last tally was on January 24th in Colorado. Washington lost that game if you were curious, 3-2 being the final score, That guy who is for some reason remaining nameless here, but scores a lot of goals, yeah he scored in this game also.

Sheary went nearly one month without scoring a goal, then scored against the Avalanche and has now gone nearly two months without tickling the twine. He has gone from potentially having a career year to having an awful year, and easily his worst while wearing Capitals red, white and blue.

It’s tough to say why. I’m sure there are some coaches and scouts out there that could do a deeper dive and figure out some reasons why this guys goal scoring has dried up.

As for me, you look at the stats and they are not that different. Shots are down, but just a little. During Sheary’s more successful period he was shooting the puck just over two times a game, 2.10 to be exact. Now, during this dry spell he is down to 1.6 shots a game. Down? Yes. But it’s not like he is not shooting.

What kind of chances is he getting? In terms of overall chances those are not incredibly different either. Sheary had 61 individual scoring chances in his first 38 games. Since then he has 52 chances in 32 games. A little down? Again, yes, but it isn’t dramatic.

Maybe one area he can improve on is getting to the hard to get to areas? In the first 38 games this season Sheary had 30 high danger attempts. Since then he has 23. Seven less attempts, but also six less games played, so even that is not much less. In terms of per game, while he was scoring goals he had .78 high danger attempts per game, since then he has .71 per game.

Shooting percentage. That is the thing that has obviously taken a nose dive. When he was scoring goals he was shooting at 13.8%. A good number. Nothing exceptional, but good. Since then he is shooting 1.9%.

Since late December guys who have more goals than Sheary for the Capitals includes guys that have not been on the team that long, and guys that have not been with the team for weeks. Craig Smith has more goals, 2, Erik Gustafsson had 2, Matt Irwin has 2, Trevor van Riemsdyk has 3, Marcus Johansson had 4, Aube-Kubel has 4 and Fehervary has 4. No disrespect to any of those guys, but you would probably hope Sheary has more goals than most of those players over a nearly three month span.

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Probably just like the team, it has been an up and down season for Conor Sheary. It looked like it was going to be a very good season for this guy. Over the past three months it has taken an ugly turn. A potential career year has turned into possibly one of his worst seasons in years.