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The Daily Chum: Donskoi’s multi-point game a long time coming

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But, the underlying numbers do reveal some causes for concern.

Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Joonas Donskoi’s two assists in the Sharks’ win over Vancouver last night were his first points since he returned to the lineup from injury a little over a month ago. Overall, the assists were his first points since January 19th.

The lack of offense led head coach Pete DeBoer to scratch Donskoi for Friday’s 5-2 loss to Calgary. Although the offense hadn’t come until last night, Donskoi has been playing pretty well since he returned from injury.

Since Donskoi came back on March 6th, Donskoi ranked fourth on the team in even strength CF% (55.71), FF% (57.29), and SCF% (63.41), with the fourth-highest percentage of starts in the defensive zone (31.65 DZS%) entering last night, according to Corsica. It’s a small sample size, but all of those numbers would be the highest of Donskoi’s two-year NHL career.

What’s kept Donskoi in an offensive drought, as I touched on a couple of weeks ago, is an incredibly low on-ice shooting percentage. With Donskoi on the ice at even strength entering last night, the Sharks had scored on just 1.49% of their shots, the third-lowest of any player to play for the Sharks dating back to Donskoi’s return from injury on March 6th.

Donskoi’s individual shooting percentage since returning, of course, remains at 0%. His goal-scoring drought dates back to before his return from injury, as the Finnish winger last scored during the Obama administration when he found the back of the net against the Detroit Red Wings on January 7th.

It’s reasonable to expect Donskoi to start picking up points with more regularity as the Sharks’ on-ice shooting percentage improves with him on the ice. The same, unfortunately, cannot necessarily be said about Donskoi’s individual shooting percentage.

Since Donskoi came back, only Paul Martin has shot at a lower rate than the Finnish winger. Among forwards, he’s generated individual scoring chances at the fifth-lowest rate (2.20 iSCF60).

Both of those rates are far below his career averages, and the rates he’s posted as a whole in each individual NHL season. It is admittedly a small sample size, but a lower conversion rate on fewer individual shots and scoring chances is a recipe for a slump.

Last night against Vancouver, Donskoi’s two shots on goal were his most in two weeks. It was just the fourth multi-shot game since his return from injury.

If Donskoi’s individual shooting and scoring chance rates improve, his individual shooting percentage could see some regression to the mean. With Joe Thornton and Logan Couture out of the lineup for the time being, improvement in these areas could not come at a better time.