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Player Power Rankings: Preseason Week 2 brought choppy waters

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There’s hope to be had beneath the surface of a 0-3-0 record.

SAN JOSE, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Antti Suomela #40 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal in their preseason game against the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on September 27, 2018 in San Jose, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Welcome to Fear the Fin’s weekly(ish) player power rankings. Who had the biggest impact, the best goals or the prettiest smile in the week that was and who you should totally grab off of waivers in your fantasy league to stick it to Derek in accounts receivable. All rankings subject to the whims of fate and whatever we’re feeling in the moment.


The second week of the preseason saw chemistry built, relationships born and friendships founded, but did little to inspire confidence in the Sharks’ ability to, you know, win. Their 0-3-0 record was not ideal, but that comfortable mantra of “it’s only the preseason” was chanted throughout many a San Jose home and hovel. The Sharks are looking for, among other things, a consistent bottom six, and that’s where we’ll focus for this week’s heroes.

1. Antti Suomela

Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Season 5 4 1 5 4 0 11 59.86
This Week 2 2 0 0 2 0 6 60.53

The Finnish free agent may have already had a stranglehold on the third line center position, but Thursday night’s contest against the Calgary Flames likely removed all doubt. With two goals in the losing contest, Antti Suomela raised his point total to five on the preseason, led all Sharks forwards in adjusted Corsi for percentage, and went a long way towards erasing his forgettable debut.

The man himself told the Athletic’s Kevin Kurz that his first game in San Jose was “really tough” and that “now it’s a little bit easier.” His comfort shows, and any concerns about the loss of my best friend Chris Tierney should be somewhat allayed by the Finn’s adaptability.

Suomela’s second goal of the night on Thursday shows the vision for which the Finn is so often praised. Watch him casually coast through the zone as if his controller was disconnected just in time to lay some wood on an Erik Karlsson point shot and tip it past goaltender Mike Smith.

2. Kevin Labanc

Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Season 5 2 4 6 4 2 11 60.57
This Week 3 1 2 3 2 2 6 58.11

The OHL’s 2015-16 leading scorer is making a case for a big step forward this season. Kevin Labanc led the Sharks in points this week, and his eight shots on goal, along with rearguard Joakim Ryan, paced the squad during this trying time. Labanc, while sharing the ice with the aforementioned Suomela and fellow Finn Joonas Donskoi, made his presence known on the scoreboard, including setting up our newest and favoritest member for his very first San Jose Sharks goal:

The kid can pass, hey?

3. Timo Meier

Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Season 5 2 3 5 3 0 11 54.81
This Week 3 1 2 3 2 0 5 52.9

After scoring 21 goals in 2016-17, and putting 210 shots on goal, good enough for 70th in the entire NHL, Timo Meier is taking the next step this preseason. The 2015 entry draft’s ninth overall pick led all Sharks forwards in ice time this week, while spending a fair amount of time on the top line with Joes Thornton and Pavelski, and made the most of that opportunity. Midway through the second period of Thursday’s game against the Flames, head coach Peter Deboer moved Meier up to the top line, and the rest was history.

Meier is also the third most common Sharks forward to see in shorthanded situations, and he is making the most of those opportunities as well. The Sharks’ penalty kill was an area of strength last season, and while that has not been the case so far this preseason (San Jose’s goals against per sixty minutes on the penalty kill of 4.35 is the fifth worst in the league), at least the most is being made of the ample Timo Time available.

4. Tomas Hertl

Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Season 4 0 4 4 3 0 12 59.9
This Week 2 0 1 1 0 0 6 44.64

Last week: 4

The Sharks’ leader in shots this preseason may surprise you. It probably won’t actually, because you read his name just up there, but it’s Tomas Hertl. Hertl’s shot attempt share is second on the team among players with at least four games of action, and his ability to drive play is demonstrated in the discrepancy between his possession numbers and those of his most common line mate, Logan Couture. While his on-ice shot attempt rates suffered with the team as a whole this week, his ability to drive play regardless of game situation and line mate was noticeable.

5. Barclay Goodrow

Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Time Games Played Goals Assists Points Primary Points Penalty Minutes Shots on Goal 5v5 adj Corsi for %
Season 5 3 3 6 6 0 11 50
This Week 2 1 0 1 1 0 6 49.71

Last week: 1

Barclay Goodrow didn’t blow us all away this week, but his impact on the preseason as a whole cannot be denied. Goodrow leads the Sharks in points this preseason, with none of those pesky secondary assists clouding up the landscape. Not only does Goodrow seem to have solidified a spot on the opening night roster’s fourth line against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, he may even be challenging Dylan Gambrell and Rourke Chartier for its center position. Okay, that may be a bridge too far, but Goodrow has shown an ability to hold his own in that position in an admittedly small sample, so it isn’t a crazy notion.

Honorable Mentions

Erik Karlsson:

The hero we deserve finally suited up for a few games in teal this week, putting up two points in as many games to start the new era in San Jose. Karlsson’s 61.03 shot attempt percentage trailed only his defense partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the team, and if we’re being honest, I kind of just like writing his name.

Joonas Donskoi:

Donskoi hasn’t been finding the back of the net, but he’s been doing everything else right this week. He and fellow Finn Suomela seem to have created some fast chemistry together, as is shown by their sterling possession analytics, and Deboer is starting to be faced with a real embarrassment of riches with his forward corps.