Depth scoring was an issue the Capitals had to address in the offseason and they attempted to do just that on Tuesday with the signing of forward Conor Sheary to a one-year, $735,000 contract, the team announced.
Sheary is a speedy winger who spent last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, totaling 10 goals and 13 assists. He had his best seasons playing with Sidney Crosby on the top line with Pittsburgh, helping him earn career highs of 23 goals and 30 assists. He's not likely to find that kind of success in Washington as he will most likely play on the third line in place of the now-departed Ilya Kovalchuk.
The news may mean Daniel Sprong is headed for the taxi squad this season or for a fourth-line role. He was thought to be the leading candidate to take on the third-line role in the absence of any further additions to the roster. Sheary now most likely has the inside track on that roster competition.
Despite being very tight under the cap ceiling, general manager Brian MacLellan was able to pull yet another rabbit out of the hat. With Henrik Lundqvist likely going to long-term injured reserve, the team had some added flexibility which it used to sign Sheary to a very cheap deal.
According to CapFriendly, Sheary's new contract will leave Washington with about $2.2 million of cap space remaining, but that does not include Sprong or a backup goalie.
There is still enough room left to possibly sign a veteran goalie to a cheap deal if that is the direction MacLellan wants to go over an internal option such as Vitek Vanecek or Pheonix Copley.