The San Jose Sharks announced today that they have signed forward Lukas Radil to a one-year contract extension. San Jose originally signed the Czech winger to a one-year deal in April 2018. The Sharks did not disclose the terms of the deal, though the average annual value (AAV) is estimated to be similar to his current $750,000 deal.
It seems he has impressed in his 11 American Hockey League (AHL) games with the Barracuda and 18 National Hockey League (NHL) games with the mother club. Before joining the Sharks’ AHL affiliate after last April’s signing, the 28-year-old Radil developed in the Czech juniors and professional system, eventually finding a home with Spartak Moskva of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in the three seasons prior to signing with San Jose. With Moskva, Radil logged 164 games, over which he scored 103 points — a solid, if not incredible, 0.63 points-per-game pace.
In 18 games with the Sharks this season, Radil has scored six goals and added three assists while averaging 10:31 minutes of ice time, though that number has risen somewhat in the forward’s last four games as he’s skated alongside Logan Couture and Timo Meier.
Radil has impacted the game beyond his counting stats. Though Radil’s playing time encapsulates a small sample size of ice time, it appears he is both helping the Sharks outshoot their opponents while simultaneously helping the team suppress shots against. Micah Blake McCurdy of HockeyViz, created a model this past off-season that attempts to isolate an individual player’s impact on his team’s unblocked shot share. The model tries to control for external factors, such as teammates, opponents, and zone starts to provide a better estimate of what each player is capable of.
With Radil on the ice this season, San Jose is 11 percent more likely than an average hockey team to score on its 5-on-5 unblocked shots. The team’s opponents are also 11 percent less likely than an average team to score on their 5-on-5 unblocked shots. While there will be some regression in the offing—as is wont to happen with just 18 games under one’s belt—it seems the winger is capable of helping his team create more dangerous chances than their opponents.
Radil is not just impacting the shots the team takes, but also the goals they score. The twins of Evolving-Hockey created a goals above replacement (GAR) model that they keep updated as the season progresses. The model tries to discern individual player impact on team goal scoring and is less a measure of a player’s actual ability and more a barometer for how a given player’s season is going so far this year.
(A note: Because this model is strictly focused on goals, there will be some noise, such as shooting percentages and other luck factors, included in the following chart.)
His small sample size of 18 games (and high on-ice shooting percentage) make him the sixth-most impactful Sharks forward on goal scoring this season. Again, this chart is subject to change — wild percentage swings in any direction are enough to move players up and down with abandon — but to date, it shows Radil is helping the Sharks put the puck in the net.
I would bet on Radil falling down this GAR chart a bit as his shooting percentage falls from 26.1 percent, but for a player who is more of a depth winger (his current place in the lineup notwithstanding), we are more interested in his impact on the team’s ability to outshoot and outchance opponents, anyway.
This contract is a win-win for the organization and the player. The Sharks are betting on someone’s ability to tilt the ice in the team’s favor without overpaying (in salary or contract length) a depth player. Radil is getting another year in the NHL to continue upon his quick start.
*This article has been corrected. Previously the article referred to Radil’s KHL team as “Moskova.” The correct spelling is “Moskva.”