The Washington Capitals have signed Conor Sheary to a two-year extension, keeping him in the organization after a strong season. The deal will carry an average annual value of $1.5MM. Sheary is a pending unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year, $735K deal with the Capitals in late December.
It’s been a very interesting career for the 28-year-old winger. Undrafted despite dominating the Massachusetts prep scene, the 5’9″ forward went to UMass-Amherst and just never stopped scoring. In 138 NCAA games he scored 38 goals and 104 points, but was still overlooked and ended up signing an AHL deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate for the 2014-15 season. When he dominated the minor leagues, there was no overlooking him anymore. Sheary signed his entry-level deal with the Penguins in 2015 and quickly became a regular, impact player on a team that won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
Then, in 2018 he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres as part of a salary dump and basically forgotten, watching his production decline like so many others for the struggling franchise. By the time he reached unrestricted free agency again last offseason, the $3MM salary he had been earning seemed like a huge overpay. Enter the Capitals, who brought him in for just a little over the league minimum and guaranteed very little to the undersized forward. As Washington head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters including Tom Gulitti of NHL.com just today, Sheary has been an excellent addition to the team:
I think everybody really admires & respects the way he went about his work this year. He doesn’t make any noise. He just competes really hard out on the ice and put himself in a position where you want him out there a lot in different situations.
Whatever line he goes to, I think he helps make it a better line. Right now, he’s in a real good place with regard to his game and confidence and it shows by the way he’s playing.
With 11 goals and 19 points in 40 games, Sheary has been the ideal role player for the Capitals. The fact that he brings a wealth of playoff experience—61 games already in his five-season career to this point—only adds to the value he holds for Washington. The team obviously believes so as well, inking him to a reasonable multi-year extension well before he hits the open market.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet broke news of the contract on Twitter.
More to come…