The curious case of Conor Sheary


As of this past weekend, Conor Sheary and the Pittsburgh Penguins were still locked in on a stalemate in contract talks.

Sheary, 25, will be among the most intriguing arbitration cases, if there’s not a settlement before the hearing on August 4th.

61 GP – 23 Goals – 30 Assists – 53 Pts (+24)
0.87 PPG (25th in NHL)
48 Even Strength Points (20th in NHL)
3.01 Points/60 5 vs 5 (1st in NHL among players who appeared in 250 mins or more)
53 CF% 5 v 5
1st Line Winger that can play both wings

Cons for Arbitration Case
2 Years NHL experience
2 Goals in 22 playoff games during 2017 postseason
Healthy scratch for at least one playoff game the last two seasons

With Sheary, there are a wide range of opinions around the league on his potential arbitration case.

Sheary has a great case based strictly on numbers, a primary reason his camp has initiative for now to play hardball at this point.

The ruling process has changed over the years where analytics are now weighed and strongly pushed by agents and Sheary leading the NHL in 5 v 5 points/60 will have a lot of weight, those with knowledge of how the ruling process go tell TIOPS.

On the flip side, how much weight does Sheary’s lack of NHL experience knock his number down? That’s the million dollar question…….

It’s the wildcard in the process leading up to the case and whether a settlement happens at the last minute.

Here’s a breakdown on some trends the past couple years for RFA’s with similar production to Sheary.

2017: Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings. Player Ask $5.3 million | Club Offer $4.1 million.
— Tatar’s hearing is Thursday. Tatar, 26, had 25 goals and 46 points in 82 games last season. A less productive season than Sheary but Tatar’s ask of $5.3 million is right around where players with his production (40-50 points) and experience (4 full NHL seasons, 345 games) have come in from previous summers.

2016: Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia Flyers | Player Ask $5.5 million | Club Offer $4.31 million
— Schenn, 24 years old last summer, was coming off a 26 goal – 59 point season. The two sides ended up settling on a four year, $20.5 million contract. Schenn was traded this summer to St. Louis. Another player who went into his hearing with similar numbers to Sheary and asked for over $5 million. But, big difference is the experience factor. Schenn had 4 years of NHL experience and 354 regular season games played as of last July when he was an RFA.

2016: Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals | Player Ask: $5.25 million | Club Offer: $3.85 million
Johansson 25 years old last summer as an RFA, had a 17 goal – 46 point campaign in 15/16 and went into the hearing asking for $5.25 million. The two sides settled on a 3 year, $13.749 million extension. Another example where Johansson’s production at the same age as Sheary was much less based on games played but Johansson has a major experience advantage. Johansson had over 400 games of NHL experience following the 2015-2016 season.

What’s been established during the RFA process in recent years is forwards in the 25 years old range bracket and the 45-60 point neighborhood with 300+ games of NHL experience have grounds to ask for upwards of $5.25 million.

What there’s not a precedent yet is for forwards like Conor Sheary who averaged 0.88 points per game, far better numbers than the players mentioned above, was a first line winger for the most part on a Stanley Cup champion, but has significantly less NHL experience.

The Penguins anticipate Sheary’s initial ask in the arbitration process to be somewhere in the $4 million range.

Some feedback from NHL executives points to the Mike Hoffman case from 2015 and the J.T. Miller negotiations from last summer that could see the Penguins coming out winners.

Here’s a breakdown and feedback of those situations potentially pertaining to Sheary’s:
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