I need to take a moment to talk about Conor Sheary because I feel like a proud mother and I don’t even know the kid. He’s turning 25 in June but this is only his second season in the NHL – his first full one too. The winger is only 5’8″ and 174lbs, compare him to team mates Dumoulin, Fehr, or Maatta, who are all over 6′ 2″ and 205lbs, and Sheary is tiny.
A little bit of history on Conor: He played for Cushing Academy then the University of Massachusetts Amherst in his home state as he went undrafted. Despite excelling at baseball, Sheary followed in his big sister’s footsteps and stuck with hockey. His sister, Courtney, played for the University of New Hampshire and then coached the girls hockey at Cushing Academy. In his first year at Cushing Academy, he was cut from the team for being too small. He made the team in his second year.
“I grew a little bit, and that kind of caused some motivation as well, not making the team.”
Towards the end of the 2013/14 season, Sheary joined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL on an amateur tryout before signing a two year entry-level contract with their NHL affiliate – the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Under WB-Scranton, Sheary played for Mike Sullivan who was then made head coach of the Penguins when Mike Johnston was fired. Impressed with his tiny winger, the Penguins called Sheary up against the Bruins on the 16th December 2015 – three days after Sullivan was made coach.
Pens lost 3-0 then two days later they faced the Bruins once more; this time Sheary scored on Tuukka Rask, registered an assist, and skated on a line with this generation’s greatest hockey player – Sidney Crosby. His first multi-goal game was at Madison Square Garden against Henrik Lundqvist. Six months after making his NHL debut, Sheary won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins.
At the moment, Sheary is standing on 44 points in 83 career games – and he has nine of those points in his last four games. Perhaps, it should be noted that Sheary is playing on the top line with Sidney Crosby as his centre – but he’s keeping pace with 2015 second overall pick, Jack Eichel, and has more points than Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews. Not bad for an undrafted little forward!
“But the thing that jumps out to me the most, and what I most respect about Conor, is his courage.” – Mike Sullivan
Conor Sheary, the kid that could! (Or the Penguins very own Clark Kent?)