Conor Sheary, LW/RW
Hometown: Winchester, MA, USA
Drafted: Signed as free agent, 2015
June 2017 – The Little Guy Who Could won’t be listed here among prospects much longer because he’s proved he belongs with the big boys whether joining Jake Guentzel to flank Sidney Crosby or playing an effective two-way, bottom-six game. In fact, injuries and his value to the team in roles below a scoring line are all that stand between Sheary and a long career as a highly paid offensive star. An RFA in the off-season, Sheary will remain with the Penguins one way or another. Racking up 53 points in a 61-game contract year is great for job security. He would have piled up even more points were it not for second-half injuries that cost him about a quarter of the season. Mark Allan
February 2017 – Sheary’s ever-increasing offensive stats will be frozen for four to six weeks after he suffered an upper-body injury. Playing regularly on Sidney Crosby’s left side, the hustling, opportunistic sophomore has 35 points (17 Gs, 18 As) in 42 games, producing offensively whether Patric Hornqvist or Brian Rust is RW on the line. The pint-sized Sheary is plus-18 and has received significant PP time. His offense will always be Crosby-dependent to a degree, although he’s established himself as a credible top-six winger and has chipped in with timely offense when deployed on the fourth line. The Penguins are so deep at forward that Sheary’s placement must be monitored when he returns. Mark Allan
January 2017 – Playing way bigger than his puny stature, the darting, diminutive winger is having the time of his life with 11 goals, 14 assists and plus-11 in 34 games, primarily with Sidney Crosby and Patrik Hornqvist. Susceptible to injury and largely dependent offensively on line placement, Sheary has nonethless proved to coach Mike Sullivan he can play in multiple roles and contribute to team success. Whether he's riding shotgun with Crosby or buzzing around in the bottom six, Sheary has arrived as a bonafide NHLer. You might still be able to steal him late in a draft. Mark Allan
October 2016 – The industrious little winger has missed four straight games with an eye injury and is still listed day to day. Mark Allan
October 2016 – The diminutive winger is out day to day with an eye injury. Getting shifts with Evgeni Malkin when he can with Sidney Crosby still out with a concussion, Sheary has a goal and two assists in four games and is plus-3. Increasingly, it looks like he's in the NHL to stay. Mark Allan
October 2016 – In line rushes before Pittsburgh's final pre-season game, Sheary was with Sidney Crosby and Patrik Hornqvist, perhaps signalling that's where he'll open the season. If he stays there for long, he could be a quietly productive late-round fantasy draft pick. Mark Allan
October 2016 – Although not guaranteed a spot on Pittsburgh's opening-day roster, Sheary has survived the first two rounds of cuts. He pleases head coach Mike Sullivan with his skating, hustle and willingness to play any role from riding shotgun with Sidney Crosby to being a fourth-line pest who occasionally pots a goal. Entering a contract year, Sheary will always have to work hard because his lack of size will always be counted against him and he hasn't demonstrated much NHL offense yet. Mark Allan
June 2016 – With a cap hit of $575,000, the Maine Mighty Mite was one of the best-bang-for the-buck players in Pittsburgh's system (second only to Matt Murray). Extremely coachable, Sheary played on both sides of center and enthusiastically accepted whatever role coach Mike Sullivan needed him to fill – from the fourth line to playing with Sidney Crosby. Sheary earned a callup by posting 36 points in 30 games in his sophomore AHL campaign. Not always getting the highest-quality or quantity minutes, he had seven goals and just 10 points in 44 NHL league games before increasingly becoming part of Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup run with 10 points in 23 post-season games. Size is about the only NHL asset he lacks, and Sheary makes up for that with lots of heart. Sullivan loves him and the Penguins have him back for one more season at the same cap hit, so he has an excellent shot at sticking with the NHL club from the start of the season. Mark Allan
March 2016 – Making the most of fourth-line minutes after being recalled from the AHL when Evgeni Malkin went out for six to eight weeks with his latest injury, Sheary potted two goals in a huge 5-3 statement victory over the division rival Rangers in New York. The little guy deflected in his first goal and gave Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead on a breakaway. Sheary has five goals in 30 NHL games this season and a healthy 12.8 shooting percentage, tied for fourth on the team with fellow prospect Scott Wilson. Mark Allan
February 2016 – Dealing with a shoulder injury caused by a hit from behemoth Tyler Myers, anti-behemoth Sheary was assigned to the AHL, where he is still tied with Scott Wilson for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scoring lead. Sheary's injury is not believed to be serious, and he could be promoted before season's end if only as a hard-working fourth-liner. Mark Allan
February 2016 – Failing earlier to translate impressive AHL playmaking into NHL production while on a line with Crosby and Kunitz, Sheary is making a case to stay with the big club when injured forwards begin returning to action. Propelled by a constantly revving motor, the little guy goes to scary areas, battles opponents who tower over him and makes intelligent plays with soft hands. In a 6-3 victory over the visiting Red Wings, Sheary set up fellow fourth-liner Scott Wilson for his first NHL goal, which proved to be the winner. Outworking both opposing D-men behind Detroit’s net, the pint-sized Sheary protected the puck, took a quick look into the slot from the back boards and zinged a perfect pass to Wilson, who tallied on a five-hole wrister. In a previous game, Sheary burst through both defensemen, lost his balance, reached with his stick and corraled the puck as he leaped to his skates, deked the goalie and rang a backhander off the crossbar. There was no payoff, but it was an impressive demonstration of his skill and determination. Mark Allan
January 2016 – After the little guy played on a line with Sidney Crosby, No. 87 regained his AWOL scoring touch. However, Sheary has just a goal and an assist in 10 NHL games. That and minus-5 got him dropped to the third line with Nick Bonino and Patric Hornqvist. It's got to be an invaluable learning experience for Sheary, but he might soon be back racking up points in the AHL and awaiting the next phone call to recall him to the NHL. Mark Allan
December 2015 – Still desperate for offense, Pittsburgh promoted the skilled little playmaker to the NHL as he sat with 25 points in 24 AHL games. In the first three games after his callup, the unheralded Sheary registered a goal and an assist, matching the two points hotshot rookie Daniel Sprong has in 18 games albeit with minimal ice time. In his third game, Sheary led Pittsburgh by pumping six shots on the Carolina goal. Primarily on a line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, this is a great opportunity for Sheary to show he can be effective at the NHL level. His dream scenario would be to do so well he persuades GM Jim Rutherford to make room for him by dealing one of Pittsburgh's more-established, more-pricy underachieving wingers. A lot has to happen for that occur, but monitor Sheary, and don't be too discouraged if the 23-year-old is returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Mark Allan
November 2015 – Almost as hot as his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Sheary was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 15. The sophomore pro totaled a goal and seven assists for eight points in three weekend games, which helped WBS stretch its winning streak to a franchise-record 11 straight. The Massachusetts native compiled a career-best four points in the first of three straight games, then matched that two days later. Second to Scott Wilson in team scoring with 14 points, the playmaking left winger is tied for 12th in league scoring and is tied for third in the AHL with 12 assists. He faces an uphill battle to join mighty mites Tyler Johnson and Johnny Gaudreau in the NHL but if he keeps producing like he is, he should get a top-six opportunity someday. Mark Allan
October 2015 – The skilled, pint-sized winger was one of four players sent to the AHL a week ahead of the NHL season opener. After being extremely productive in four seasons with the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), the native New Englander led Pittsburgh’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, with 45 points in 58 games last season. That included 20 goals. In spite of his short stature, he’s more durable than you would expect and manages to weave through opponents without absorbing too much abuse. He can play more than one forward position, benefiting from superior puckhandling, awareness and anticipation. Pittsburgh signed him to a two-year entry-level deal in July 2015. Mark Allan
Fantasy Outlook: B-
His size will always be counted against him, and lead to injuries. However, Sheary has proved beyond a doubt that he can generate significant offense when matched with skilled linemates such as Sidney Crosby.
Scott Wilson’s first NHL goal, set up with some outstanding hustle by Conor Sheary.
Assist by Sheary at :13; goals at :45 and 1:10
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