The Washington Capitals have signed another recent draft pick, inking Connor McMichael to a three-year entry-level contract. McMichael was selected 25th overall in last month’s draft, and will likely head back to the London Knights of the OHL for the 2019-20 season. The deal will have an average annual value of $925K.
McMichael is a very interesting draft story, as his first year of junior hockey was a disaster. Despite being a high pick into the OHL and previously dominating in midget, McMichael struggled mightily with the Hamilton Bulldogs and was almost invisible after a trade to the legendary London Knights organization in 2017-18. Notably though, London had traded away St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas for the young McMichael, obviously seeing his potential being wasted. Though it didn’t work right away, McMichael came back in 2018-19 and blew the doors off the OHL for London, scoring 36 goals and 72 points to lead a loaded club that also had top picks like Liam Foudy, Adam Boqvist, Evan Bouchard and Alex Formenton among others.
That kind of performance shot McMichael into the first-round discussion once again, and the Capitals decided to take a chance on a player that might still need a bit of seasoning—unlike their next pick Brett Leason who was draft eligible for the third time. McMichael has an excellent feel for the game at both ends of the rink and regularly finds himself in the perfect position to create a chance or prevent one.
Interestingly, McMichael was not included in the initial roster for Team Canada at the Summer Showcase, though he has since been added after Dylan Cozens was forced out due to injury. He’ll try to work his way onto the World Junior team and show exactly why the Capitals used their first-round pick to select him.