Connor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre ready to inject youth into Capitals’ lineup

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McMichael, Lapierre ready to inject youth into Caps’ lineup originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For a small part of the roster, and for at least a few games, there’s a youth movement happening on the Capitals. 

Hendrix Lapierre, the team’s first-round pick in 2020, and Connor McMichael, the team’s first-round pick in 2019, made the Opening Night roster and appear ready to not just earn a sweater, but play significant minutes to begin the season on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers. 

When the Capitals announced their initial roster, McMichael (due to being waivers exempt) was sent down to AHL Hershey for a little more than 12 hours, before being called back up once Nicklas Backstrom (hip) was put on long-term injured reserve. Lapierre, who has not played professional hockey in the AHL or NHL yet at age 19, made the team outright. 

Now, with Lapierre at third line center and (for now) McMichael, 20, holding injured Alex Ovechkin’s spot at first line left wing, some youth is ready to be infused into one of the NHL’s oldest lineups.

“I don’t think that neither one of those guys, nor (defenseman) Marty Fehervary, I don’t think that they backed off at all [in the preseason],” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought they looked like they belonged there. They’ve got to continue to prove it on a daily basis, like anybody. But there was nothing that really slipped inside of their game as the competition got better.”

McMichael, the team’s most heralded prospect, making the team came as no surprise. He was Hershey’s leading scorer a year ago with 27 points in 33 games. He played in one NHL game last season and by all accounts, appeared ready to join the NHL after two offseasons of full training. In fact, many tried to figure out how he could make the roster before there were any injury concerns in Washington. He’s always been on the radar.

Lapierre, on the other hand, has sped up his NHL timeline. Given…



Source : yahoo

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