San Jose Barracuda forward Ryan Carpenter set a record in Friday’s 2-1 loss in Game 1 to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Carpenter assisted Kevin Labanc’s first period goal, and picked up his 14th point of the postseason, breaking a Sharks AHL affiliate record for most points in a single postseason.
Carpenter broke the record in his 11th game of the postseason, a game less than it took previous record holders Shawn Burr (Kentucky, 1999) and Riley Armstrong (Worcester, 2009) to score 13 points.
The 25-year-old continued his record-setting postseason with a goal and an assist in last night’s 4-2 win in Game 2. The goal, Carpenter’s eighth of the playoffs, was a Pavelskian redirection in the slot on the power play, and showcased the offensive awareness Sharks fans saw firsthand during his brief time with the big club this regular season.
The #AHL's postseason goal leader does it again to double the @sjbarracuda's lead. #SJvsGR pic.twitter.com/Fq5ZdLF9Bh— AHL (@TheAHL) May 22, 2017
Like all great postseason runs, there’s a question of whether or not this is sustainable. Carpenter, a career 9.6% shooter in 214 AHL regular and postseason games entering the playoffs this year, is converting an absurd 17.8% of shots in 12 postseason games.
The good news for Carpenter and the Barracuda, though, is that Carpenter is shooting the puck much more during the playoffs. In his AHL career before this run, Carpenter averaged 2.23 shots per game, and 2.68 during the 2016-17 regular season.
So far this postseason, he’s firing 3.75 pucks on net per game. Even as Carpenter is likely to regress to the mean, he’s shooting enough where he should be able to mitigate some of that natural decline.
Of course, given that playoffs are inherently small sample sizes, there’s a good chance Carpenter can continue to produce at a career-best rate. Regardless, the timing of this postseason could not be better for Carpenter.
He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and this run, along with his impressive performances in limited action with the Sharks during the regular season (4 pts in 11 GP, 54.1% 5v5 CF, adjusted for score, zone and venue), indicate that Carpenter is ready for a longer look on an NHL fourth line.
Whether or not that happens in San Jose is a question for another time. In the interim, the Barracuda are happy to have Carpenter make history as the rest of the team tries to do the same.
He’s got at least three more chances to add to his record in the Western Conference Finals. With another four-to-seven games awaiting in a potential Calder Cup run, Carpenter may well leave the rest of the Sharks AHL affiliate record book in the dust.