Barclay Goodrow is not a polarizing figure in the Northern California sports landscape.
In fact, as he ended the 2018-19 regular season, Goodrow was likely one of the least talked about players on the San Jose Sharks, for better or worse. On one hand, he quietly matched his career high in goals, and set a personal best in points; on the other, he played a full 82 game season, and the numbers he put up in the best season of his career were seven and 17, respectively.
Sure, playing fourth-line minutes with linemates like Micheal Haley may not be the catalyst for a season in Art Ross contention, but scoring only three more points than last season, despite playing in 35 more games, makes this a bit of a disappointing career point year. That being said, with the kind of game Goodrow plays, looking solely at point totals won’t give much insight on what he brings to the rink every night.
In his fifth season as a Shark, the 25 year-old center continued doing what he does best: playing a grinding, defensively sound game. He was San Jose’s best faceoff man of the year, winning 53.7 percent of his draws, and with 68 blocks and 125 hits, skated with a physical edge. Considering his commitment to this style of play, it’s difficult to be unimpressed with Goodrow’s durability, as he was one of only four Sharks to play in all 82 games of the 2018-19 season.
On offense, however, Goodrow contributed little. While he was responsible with the puck offensively, evidenced by his decidedly strong Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 54.9, he wasn’t able to translate that into quality scoring chances, and considering he posted a PDO of 99.3, it’s unlikely luck was a significant factor.
Career Summary (via HockeyViz)
Goodrow’s position in the lineup didn’t vary much. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though, playing on a team that’s as deep down the middle as San Jose was this year, with an immensely talented group featuring Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton available to occupy the three center slots above him.
His primary points per hour trended downward this season, and while they fluctuated dramatically through the middle of the campaign, his high point of the season this year was on par with his low point last year, which isn’t exactly inspiring when thinking about him developing any further.
RAPM Chart (via Evolving Hockey)
His regularized adjusted plus-minus (RAPM) numbers tell the same story, with Goodrow posting disappointing goal generation numbers, but stellar defensive ones. Curiously, considering his defensive prowess, his zone deployment split was almost perfectly even, as he took the ice in the offensive zone 50.6 percent of the time, while starting in the defensive zone 49.4 percent of the time.
Unfortunately for Goodrow, there was one area in which he hurt the Sharks defensively: his 76 penalty minutes, the team’s second-most. While the argument can be made that 30 of these came from his six fighting majors, which don’t put a team in a position that is inherently disadvantageous, having a player on your bench consistently looking for a fight when they’re on the ice is not something that helps teams win games in today’s NHL.
This tendency to rack up penalty minutes is part and parcel of Goodrow’s game; not only does he play with a decided physicality, which objectively leads to higher rates of penalties called against, but players in his role typically find themselves playing in the metaphorical trenches, uncomfortably close to one another, which inevitably leads to higher rates of player to player confrontation after the whistle.
What comes next?
Thankfully, the Sharks may not need Goodrow to develop any further. With two years left on his contract carrying an annual cap hit of a mere $925,000, San Jose has a defensively strong center who can be relied on in the faceoff circle anchoring their fourth line. In the cap era, and specifically to the Sharks, who have several key free agents they’ll need to re-sign this off-season, the value of that contract can’t be understated. While Goodrow may struggle to create offense, he’s great possessing the puck, an important distinction to make when looking at a player’s overall offensive ability, and with the right linemates, could see an uptick in his scoring production.
However, whether or not Goodrow’s production increases, it’s unlikely he ever produces a greater single-moment in the course of his career than he did in the 2018-19 playoffs.
Sharks fan or not, you know the one.
It speaks for itself.
With not only the game, but the entire season on the line, Barclay Goodrow didn’t shrink.
For a perennial contender like the Sharks, having depth players that can be relied on to not be overwhelmed by big moments is an organizational priority, and Goodrow proved he deserves that designation. Unfortunately, he didn’t elevate his overall play in the 2018-19 postseason, as he registered no assists, and only two goals in 22 games. His faceoff percentage dipped as well, from 53.7 percent in the regular season to 48.9 percent.
Fortunately for Goodrow, this won't be what anyone remembers.
His series deciding, Game 7 overtime goal against a bitter rival has been forever etched in the minds of San Jose faithful.