Connor McMichael: 2021-22 season review

Connor McMichael: 2021-22 season review

Connor McMichael is a fast, young forward who likes to shoot, and he sure seems like the Capitals hate that.

By the Numbers

68 games played
10.5 time on ice per game
9 goals
9 assistance
52.2 5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage
56.5 5-on-5 expected goal percentage
47.3 5-on-5 goal percentage

Visualization by HockeyViz

About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows lots of information for the player over the season. A short description of each chart:

  • Most common teammates during 5-on-5
  • Ice time per game, split up by game state
  • 5-on-5 adjusted shot attempts by the team (black) and opponents (red)
  • 5-on-5 adjusted shooting percentage by the team (black) and opponents (red)
  • Individual scoring events by the player
  • 5-on-5 adjusted offensive (black) and defensive (red) zone starts

Fan Happiness Survey

About this visualization: At three times during the season, RMNB shared an open survey with fans, asking the following question for each player:

On a scale from 1 to 5, how HAPPY are you to have this player on the team?

1 means VERY UNHAPPY TO HAVE THEM ON THE TEAM
2 means UNHAPPY
3 means NEITHER HAPPY NOR UNHAPPY
4 means HAPPY
5 ways VERY HAPPY TO HAVE THEM ON THE TEAM

The numbers above show the average score for the player in each survey period.


Peter’s Take

You probably already know what you’re gonna get here. Connor McMichael has a propensity to shoot and speed to make it happen, but he’s not getting the opportunity.

Here’s a bunch of NHL forwards plotted based on how often they shoot (left to right) and how much ice time they get (bottom to top).

Connor McMichael shoots about as much as Trevor Zegras, but he gets ice time like Ryan Reaves, the absolute basement goon tier of ice time. And McMichael started the season (and his career) with an actually elite level of offense that declined the longer he spent under Washington’s system.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide why McMichael’s offense rate dropped over the season, though I think it’s worth considering if the Caps coaches pushed McMichael to play a less adventurous style that he was not suited for and which compounded the friction between him and the coaches. Could be one of the several reasons why McMichael stopped getting a sweater. Around the beginning of February, McMichael started becoming the healthy scratch guy, including several week-long stretches without ice time, plus one three-week rest period in April.

Obviously, McMichael’s game is not without downsides and he certainly is not on Zegras’ level, but for a team growing older, slower and more infirm, a young player who is fast and shooty should be a precious commodity, something the team should embrace instead of reject.


According to Orson Welles

His limitation -- which is also the source of his charm -- is that he's fundamentally very provincial.  He is a small-town hockey player's dream of a big-city professional hockey player.

CMcM on RMNB

  • From January: Get Connor McMichael some ice time. I think the original draft said “gull dang ice time,” that’s how tilted I was.
  • MacLellan on McDavid: “McMichael, he’s a young player. He is still finding his way. I would have had him penciled in the American League at the beginning of the year. Because of injuries, he had a real good start. Probably stalled a little bit. Has done a great job for a young player. His skating’s improved, his pace of play has improved. It’s just a matter for me, his physical maturity, he’ll be more effective as he gets older. Puck battles, board battles, stuff like that.”
  • From Laviolette in the same piece: “He creates offense. He’s learning and trying to be responsible defensively. I think his year has been good. He’s played. He’s developed. He’s learnt. He’s had good games, bad games. I think that’s all part of it when you’re a first year player.”
  • Some degree of the skepticism towards McMichael was just based on finishing percentages largely out of his control.

YourTurn

How will Connor McMichael get used next season?


Read more: Japers Rink

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