This article will be another in my series of player profiles, where I’ll look at each player on the San Jose Sharks and assess how their season went. This article will focus on Erik Karlsson.
After Karlsson signed a massive eight-year deal worth $11.5 million per season to remain in San Jose, there were some pretty huge expectations for his second season with the Sharks. Despite scoring six goals and 40 points in 56 games before his season was cut short due to an injury, a pace of nine goals and 59 points per 82 games, he got a fair bit of criticism for his performance this year.
For pretty much any other player in the league, putting up those numbers would be enough to make up for any potential flaws and then some. But with Karlsson, the expectations are always extremely high (and for that money, rightfully so).
To make a comparison, here are his shots and points per 82 averages over the last five seasons:
As shown above, his points and shots per 82 averages were both way down this season from their regular levels. Karlsson also managed less points, despite the fact that his team’s shooting percentage while he was on the ice was higher than any other season of his career.
That said, his underlying stats give a reason to be optimistic. His corsi for percentage of 53.2 per cent may be down from the ridiculous 59.3 corsi for percentage that he posted last season, but it was still quite a bit higher than San Jose’s overall corsi for percentage of 50.7 per cent this season.
Of Sharks skaters (still with the team) who played at least 40 games this season, Karlsson ranked:
- First in shots for percentage
- Second in goals for percentage
- Third in corsi for percentage
- Fourth in expected goals for percentage
(Stats from NaturalStatTrick.com and HockeyReference.com)
That’s not to say those stats make up for his shortcomings this year, but it does show that Karlsson is still an extremely effective player. That said, he certainly did take a step back this season and his defensive play simply wasn’t good enough.
Karlsson isn’t going anywhere, so hopefully he bounces back next season. At his best, he can control a game and the Sharks need him to return to form if they hope to be competitive again in the near future.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):