The Capitals have re-signed forward Conor Sheary to a two-year, $3 million contract, the team announced Wednesday. The contract will carry a cap hit of $1.5 million.
Sheary, 28, has 11 goals and eight assists in 40 games in his first year in Washington including three goals and five points in his last two games. He was brought in by the Caps late in the offseason to bolster the offense and provide depth scoring and he has certainly provided that as a strong middle-six addition to the lineup.
Sheary has also provided head coach Peter Laviolette with some flexibility. Though he is better suited for the second or third line, he can be plugged into the top line when needed. That has allowed Laviolette to switch up his top three lines at various points in the season.
With Sheary now signed, the Caps have 11 forwards, six defensemen and one goalie signed from the active roster, plus injured defenseman Michal Kempny, with about $9.5 million of cap space remaining. With Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Samsonov both in need of new contracts, the cap situation for the offseason is tight.
Sheary's new contract also puts the team in a precarious position with the NHL's expansion draft for the new Seattle Kraken looming on June 21. By re-signing him now as opposed to after the expansion draft, that likely signals that the Caps intend to add Sheary to their protected players list.
But the fact that MacLellan was willing to move ahead with an extension despite the cap and expansion draft implications speaks to how good of a fit Sheary has been in Washington and why the front office wanted to keep him.