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What Gives With McMichael? Laviolette On Why He’s Scratched



Capitals forward Connor McMichael

The start of the 2022-23 season hasn’t been going according to plan for the Washington Capitals, but even more so for Connor McMichael.

McMichael has played in just one game, skating just 8:33 minutes while registering just a fight in a disappointing 5-2 defeat and lackluster performance against the Ottawa Senators. Other than that, he has been a healthy scratch, taking rushes with Matt Irwin and staying for extra work long after practices and morning skates have ended. The same pattern followed on Monday in New Jersey, as he will sit again against the Devils.

Taking that into account, and his need for more development, there are a lot of questions regarding where the 21-year-old stands, what’s next for him and the Capitals and why he’s sitting out each night. And head coach Peter Laviolette offered some feedback on Monday.

“Mikey, he was here the entire year last year. He played well. There was times where I thought he looked really good, some of those games were at center. There’s times when I think young players need to continue to work on their game,” Laviolette said.

In 68 games in his rookie year, McMichael dished nine goals and nine assists for 18 points while averaging just around 10 minutes per game. While he has shown flashes of crafty play and his potential, the 2019 first-rounder has struggled with finishing his chances, winning battles and his two-way play, as well as backchecking. Still, that comes with more time and development.

READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals Game Day, Lines & Players To Watch vs. New Jersey Devils

When it comes to why he hasn’t drawn in this season, Laviolette explained that it all depends on vacancies in the lineup. And right now, there’s not an open role for McMichael to slot into that would match his playing style or give him the best opportunity to show what he can do.

“He’s a good kid who works hard every day. When we have used him he’s played well. There’s always decisions about drawing into the lineup and who goes in the position that’s available. [On the fourth line], Conor Sheary was there. Connor Brown goes down and now we got to use Conor Sheary on right wing somewhere else. it just left a position open where we want to try Beck there tonight,” Laviolette explained. “Mikey, he’s a good player that’s developing, that’s getting better as he stays here and practices and plays games and gathers experience. He’ll continue to grow and get better.”

With the course No. 24 is on right now, one has to wonder if it’s only a matter of time before he heads to the AHL’s Hershey Bears to get more playing time, game action and growth at the center role with there not being vacancies with the big club.

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Like most of the Cap first picks in the draft he’s not that good. Team is mediocre at best. If Gretzky got traded so can Ovi. Imagine the haul….


If Mikey needs to work on his game, why aren’t the Caps allowing him to work on his game in Hershey? Crazy.

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