Now we go to basically the entire other end of the spectrum. We're done talking about an old player who is actually producing at a good pace. Now we move on to a young player who is hardly producing at all. That young player being Connor McMichael.
McMichael has had a weird season. He didn't really start that great, like most of the team. Then he started to get going and started to play well and put up points. He was the center of a line that was the Caps best line for a while, that line being Protas-McMichael-Mantha. Now he is back to not really doing that much.
McMichael has a total of 7 goals and 15 points in 46 games played. That puts him on pace for about 13 goals and 25-28ish points at the end of the season. Production wise that is lower than I would have liked, but there were times that he was among the best players on the team. You take the good with the bad there I think.
If the Capitals want to get back into the playoffs they are going to need more from McMichael. One reason this is the case is thanks to recent news from Evgeny Kuznetsov. On more nights than not Kuznetsov doesn't bring as much as the team needs, but he still brings something. Now the Capitals don't even have that little something he brings and now others have to pick up that slack. McMichael needs to be one of those guys.
With Ovechkin not scoring at the pace we're used to, with Backstrom now gone and Kuznetsov out for an undetermined amount of time the Capitals center depth will be tested.
Dylan Strome is the Capitals number one center. Maybe he is even the teams number one player these days. That's a different story for a different day. Nic Dowd is a terrific fourth line center. But his career high is 25 points and 13 goals, he simply cannot be your second best center. With the options right now McMichael needs to clearly be the second best center. Production wise he hasn't been. Not even close.
Over his last twenty games McMichael has 1 goal and 1 assist. He has a total of two points in his last twenty games.
T.J. Oshie has played nine fewer games, he has more points than McMichael. Ethan Bear has played in eight fewer games, he has more points. Hendrix Lapierre has six less games, he has more points than McMichael. Max Pacioretty has seven less games and he has more points.
I've said this about McMichael before. He has a chance to cement himself on this team, now go grab that spot and run with it. Two points in the last twenty games isn't going to cut it. The team needs him now more than ever. How will he do when the pressure is the highest?