Another in a long list of impact players the Sharks have signed as free agents in recent years, Ryan Carpenter’s eleven games in the NHL this season were promising, but his AHL playoff run is downright absurd. With 17 points in 13 playoff games played, Carpenter has the most points in a single playoff run in San Jose AHL affiliate history, and is only 35 points back from the AHL postseason record! Okay, maybe that one’s out of reach, but there’s time left to play for Carpenter to pad his lead on the record.
In the NHL this year, Carpenter put up four points (2G, 2A) in his eleven games, but a deeper look at the numbers is more impressive still. Carpenter’s 5v5 CF% was second on the team at 54.10, his relative CF% was second at 4.37, his points per 60 minutes was first at 2.31, and his zone start ratio was a modest 50.91 (all adjusted for zone, score, venue).
What all of this means is that Carpenter was able to drive play and generate more shot attempts for the Sharks without the cushy deployment that many rookies get. Sure, he faced fourth line competition, but he is fourth line competition, his most common line mate at even strength was definitive fourth liner Micheal Haley.
This is how much better in terms of possession the Sharks played with Carpenter on the ice:
It should also be mentioned that, of Carpenter’s eleven games between 11/26 and 12/09, only four were against playoff teams. It’s possible that he excelled in this limited capacity in part because of the softer competition the Sharks were facing during that time.
Now, eleven games is not much to go on, and we can’t draw too many solid conclusions with such a small sample, but I’d like to see how much more Carpenter can do with a larger opportunity.
2016-17 Sharks 5v5 Usage Chart (via Corsica Hockey)
Ryan Carpenter Rolling 5-game score, zone, and venue-adjusted average CF% (via Corsica Hockey)
Had to be this one. In the series deciding game 5 of the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs against the Stockton Heat, Ryan Carpenter converts a 2-on-1 shorthanded in overtime to move the Barracuda on. Carpenter breaks up Stockton’s D to D pass and bolts the length of the ice in time to receive a crisp pass from Barclay Goodrow and send the Heat to the golf course with a quick wrister past goaltender Jon Gillies.
What comes next?
Carpenter is a pending unrestricted free agent, so his future in teal is very much in doubt. He’s shown enough at the NHL level (and certainly at the AHL level) to be given a significant raise from the $600,000 that his last one year contract was worth, and whether that raise comes from San Jose remains to be seen.
A Calder Cup can do wonders at the negotiating table.