In case you missed it because it’s a lazy Sunday in July and you probably have better things to do in your life like not refresh twitter every hour like a monkey for hockey news and frolic around in the beautiful sunshine on a gorgeous 75 degree day in the Burgh, Conor Sheary signed a 3-year contract extension.
Very reasonable deal for both parties, if I’m being totally honest. And like Brian Dumolin’s deal last week, the Penguins and Conor Sheary avoided a potentially nasty arbitration.
Sheary, much like everyone else that’s ever played on a line with Sidney Crosby, elevated his game to another level in the 2016-2017 campaign. He buried a career-high 23 goals and contributed 30 apples for a grand total of 53 points (I did the math there, nbd) while playing the majority of the year alongside the all-time GOAT as well as the rookie GOAT Jake Guentzel.
In only two years with the Pens, Sheary has gone through lapses where he’s struggled to “find his game” during certain times in the playoffs, which most recently resulted in him being the victim of a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final. But at the same token, he seems to have a keen ability of bouncing back at just the right moments. Most notably, after being demoted from the top line in the 2016 playoffs, Sheary reunited with linemates Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist during the Stanley Cup Final, and it seemed to pay dividends for the men in black and gold. For instance, in his first two games in last year’s SCF, Sheary scored two goals, including this overtime-winning snipe in Game 2 that sent the yinzers (I’m one, too, so don’t @ me) home prett-ay, prett-ay happ-ay:
So what’s this all mean for the Penguins now, you may ask? Well, for starters, it appears Sidney Crosby will keep his kids (Sheary and Jake Guentzel) on the top line for the foreseeable future. But more importantly, this now means General Manager Jim Rutherford can switch his attention to another need – 3rd line center.
Does this mean they’ll go after someone like Matt Duchene? Probably not. But at least for the first time since Nam, the Pens have a little wiggle room in cap space to afford them a decent replacement for Nick Bonino.
Overall, it was just another good day to be a fan of the back-to-back champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
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