Capitals loan forward Connor McMichael to the AHL’s Hershey Bears

Connor McMichael was loaned to the Hershey Bears on Sunday morning. The 21-year-old forward has been a healthy scratch for the Capitals for the majority of the 2022-23 season to this point.

McMichael has gotten into just six games and has recorded zero points.

McMichael initially made the Caps out of Training Camp — and the Caps lost a prospect on waivers in order to keep the waiver-exempt player in DC — but he hasn’t been able to get a regular jersey in DC this season. In his rookie 2021-22 campaign, he played 68 games at the NHL level and put up 18 points (9g, 9a).

In late October, head coach Peter Laviolette was asked about McMichael’s situation and if a return to Hershey was possible.

“[Connor McMichael] is here,” Laviolette said then. “He’s part of our 23 right now. Things always change when guys go into the lineup or somebody gets injured or decisions on the roster that need to be made. There haven’t been any conversations about that. Right now, we’ve got a roster going that we’re happy with.

“I’m sure it’s tough sitting out,” he continued. “Every player wants to play and that’s a good thing. He’s just got to keep working hard and wait for his chance.”

Although the Caps started the season without one of their top centers in Nicklas Backstrom, McMichael has not seen any time at his natural position in the middle of the ice. He lost a preseason battle with Dylan Strome for that open spot on the roster.

Previously, Laviolette said of McMichael that 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.”

McMichael had a very successful 2020-21 season in the AHL with the Bears where he was the team’s leading scorer. He scored 14 goals and assisted on 13 more in 33 games played. He is expected to suit up for Hershey’s late afternoon game against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday.

Here’s the full press release from the team:

Capitals Loan Connor McMichael to Hershey

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have loaned forward Connor McMichael to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

McMichael, 21, has appeared in six games with the Capitals this season. The 6’0″, 182-pound forward recorded 18 points (9g, 9a) in 68 games with Washington during the 2021-22 season, leading Capitals rookies in goals and points.

McMichael, the Capitals’ first-round choice, 25th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut on Jan. 24, 2021 against the Buffalo Sabres. McMichael led Hershey in goals (14) and points (27) in his first AHL season in 2020-21, appearing in all 33 of the Bears’ games. The Ajax, Ontario native ranked tied for second in goals and sixth in points among AHL rookies and ranked first in game-winning goals (8) and tied for fourth in power play goals (6) among all AHL skaters. McMichael was named to the AHL North Division All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie Team, becoming the first Capitals prospect to receive the honor since John Carlson (2009-10).

McMichael has twice represented Canada at the World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal at the 2020 tournament and earning a silver medal in 2021. McMichael recorded a goal and an assist in the 2020 gold-medal game and finished with seven points (5g, 2a ) in seven games in the tournament, the second most goals on Canada and tied for the fourth most goals among all players. During the 2021 World Junior Championship, he recorded eight points (4g, 4a) in seven games.

In 75 career NHL games with the Capitals, Michael has recorded 18 points (9g, 9a).

Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB

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