Sheary’s 23-goal season with the Penguins in 2016-17 may seem like a long time ago, but he can still provide useful depth on a reasonable contract. The Capitals should be very familiar with him, having met three times in the playoffs in the past and watching him lift the Stanley Cup above his head twice.
There’s value in playoff experience, but it’s certainly not clear exactly where Sheary can fit into the Capitals lineup right away. The team has ten forwards making at least $1.5MM this season and penciled into the lineup, with others like Nic Dowd and Daniel Sprong both on multi-year one-way deals. Then there are the young players, like Connor McMichael who could push for a roster spot when he returns from the World Juniors.
Still, with taxi squads confirmed for the season, many teams will need to carry extra depth forwards like Sheary who don’t need any additional development and can step into a top-six role in a pinch.
Though the exact salary cap rules for the taxi squad isn’t clear, it does appear to have opened up some more flexibility for teams like the Capitals who are technically over the cap ceiling at the moment. The $82.5MM estimate that CapFriendly lists does still include Henrik Lundqvist’s $1.5MM, but even if he is removed, his replacement will still take up a good chunk of that amount.
Sheary meanwhile likely sees a contract with the Capitals as an opportunity to get his career back on track after a stumble in Buffalo. The undersized winger had 45 goals in his first 184 games with the Penguins but has scored just 24 in 141 since.