Another Look At Secondary Scoring

For those that missed this article yesterday, here's a synopsis of my basic feelings on the secondary scoring situation:

  • Splitting up HTML at even strength is probably going to be a positive thing against the Western Conference elite defenses because it allows San Jose to roll two lines with league-leading goal scorers, making it more difficult to gameplan for the Sharks. Setoguchi will get better looks with Thornton, and Marleau will make Pavelski/Clowe more dynamic.
  • Secondary scoring is what buried the Sharks last year in the playoffs. Nabokov's five hole didn't help.
  • The decline of Rob Blake and loss of Christian Ehrhoff has hurt the defensive production, which in turn has increased the burden for Heatley and Marleau to provide the majority of the team's offense. Douglas Murray is currently second on the blueline in goals scored with 3 to his name. That speaks for itself.
  • An upgrade at the forward position probably won't be in the cards outside the organization, but Doug from DOH raises a point TCY and I were just talking about yesterday as well-- Logan Couture could make an appearance in the playoffs when the salary cap no longer applies to teams. It's an interesting possibility, and further strengthens Wilson's ability to go out and get an upgrade for the defensive unit. We have names lined up similar to Denis Seidenberg that will drop mid-February during our Olympic coverage, but what DW will be looking at is a player in the $2-3 M range that is sound defensively. Scoring touch wouldn't hurt (Sheldon Souray, even with the injury issues, is very enticing), but those players will likely be out of the Sharks price range.
  • That being said, I'm no longer firmly of the mindset that an upgrade on defense is the only thing this team needs, especially after researching my latest two pieces. Secondary scoring is an issue for this club, and while I still think the defense is the number one priority here (due in part to the fact that it would help mask our scoring depth ironically), I plan on identifying cheap potential trade targets on the offensive side of the ice as well.
  • In order for the Sharks to be successful, Setoguchi, Clowe, and Pavelski need to get the engines going. Big time. Although they have looked better lately, it's essential they convert that energy into tangible scoring results. Breaking up HTML will help that considerably. And yes, as I've asserted for nearly a year now, I don't think Staubitz and Shelley are a better fit for this team compared to other options, this year's being Frazer McLaren. It's a dead horse I'm done beating after today, just like the assertion that Nabokov shouldn't be climbing into the 70+ starts range during an Olympic season. You can only make a point so many times before you start to drive yourself mad, and being a lonely twenty something year old who eats Pop Tarts for dinner, I have enough to be mad about. No more from me on the subject (feel free to knock yourselves out, of course) until at least early February.

At any rate, here's a data dump of scoring output from all the Western Conference teams who made it to the second round of The Months That Shall Not Be Named since the lockout. I have arbitrarily deemed these teams the most "succesful" squads due to their ability to advance at least one round; if there is an issue with this method, I will happily calculate the production of all playoff teams during these years.

Categories are broken down the same way they were yesterday, so check there if you're unsure of what you're looking at, and what you're looking for.

The current Sharks team is listed at the top of every list, with all relevant categories averaged out to an 82 game season in order to provide a basis of comparison. All other teams are listed in order of how far they went in the playoffs-- the top team will be the winner of the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, and the last team will be the one who was knocked out first in the second round.


2008-2009 Team Goal Scoring

Team Top 2
Rest Tot. GF
Top 2 %
San Jose (Current)
101 155 256 39.45

Detroit
74 215 289 25.60

Chicago
63
197
260 24.23
Anaheim
63 175 238 26.40

Vancouver
59 184 243 24.28


The next three seasons after the jump.


2007-2008 Team Goal Scoring

Team Top 2
Rest Tot. GF
Top 2 %
San Jose (Current)
101 155 256 39.45

Detroit
74 178 252 29.37

Dallas
59
178
237 24.89
San Jose
53 163 216 24.54

Colorado
55 161 216 25.46



2006-2007 Team Goal Scoring

Team Top 2
Rest Tot. GF
Top 2 %
San Jose (Current)
101 155 256 39.45

Anaheim
77 177 254 30.31

Detroit
63
189
252 25.00
San Jose
69 187 256 26.95

Vancouver
60 157 217 27.65



2005-2006 Team Goal Scoring

Team Top 2
Rest Tot. GF
Top 2 %
San Jose (Current)
101 155 256 39.45

Edmonton
63 186 249 25.30

Anaheim
74
177
251 29.48
San Jose
90 175 265 33.96

Colorado
64 216 280 22.86


As we can see, the Sharks top two goal scorers percentage is nearly unprecedented in the current NHL-- no team that has reached the second round in the last four seasons has seen numbers that high. Only during Jonathan Cheechoo's Rocket Richard year in 05-06 do we witness a team climb significantly above that 30% threshold.

Furthermore, the projected raw totals of the secondary scorers are dead last amongst these teams. Coupled with yesterday's findings that they are tied for sixth in this category in regards to possible 2010 playoff opponents, it's safe to say that the Sharks are relying almost solely on the talents of Heatley and Marleau to win games. I think that much is fairly undebatable, even if you disagree with the assertion that McLellan should split them in order to balance out the attack.

It's a blessing to have two talented goal-scorers on the team right now, but you have to wonder how sustainable this is during a seven game series against an elite defensive pairing who can extensively gameplan for one superstar line. This is what concerned me the very day Doug Wilson made the trade for Dany Heatley, and while I agree that San Jose received the better end of the deal because they were able to dump Cheechoo's $3 M contract, it's an issue that should be acknowledged when discussing the long term success of this club both this season and beyond.

The salary cap situation makes it a tough proposition to state that a deadline deal is a given, and although Doug Wilson has proved that he is able to make the blockbuster deal for big-contract players, it will be interesting to see how well he does in upgrading the team's depth with essentially no room to maneuver. There's not a lot of options, and assets, left for him to work with.

 

Go Sharks.

"Sharks Gameday: Secondary" accompanies this posting.

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