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Zero to Hero: A “no stats” look at the Sharks

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What stat columns are still at zero for the Sharks — and what does it mean?

Noah Gregor #73 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on January 26, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

We love to sort stat columns from the top down and see who the best players are and what they’re doing right. But what can we learn from sorting it in ascending order? Is there something hidden where the players are putting up “no stats”?

I looked at everywhere the San Jose Sharks are putting up zeroes. Here’s what I found:

0 Goals

We’re 18 games into the season, and 14 players have zero goals. Now, four of those players have just one game under their belt and an additional four have five or fewer games played, so realistically, there are six players who have yet to hit the back of the net with ample time to have done so.

The most egregious of those is probably Erik Karlsson. Though he’s historically earned the majority of his points through assists — and so far this season, he has four — he has 29 shots on goal and a bonkers 63 unblocked shots and attempts at all strengths, head and shoulders above all other players with zero goals so far (and that’s not even mentioning that he’s missed four games). Karlsson isn’t just overdue for a goal, he’s being robbed.

It seems as though his shot selection could use some work. Per HockeyViz, he’s taken 24 wrist/snap shots, largely in the right circle and in the slot, and 15 slapshots, mostly between the circles and the blueline. The slapshots are a bit weaker in terms of expected goals, but it still seems like at some point, one of them should’ve gone in by now.

0 goals: Mario Ferraro (18 GP), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (18 GP), Nikolai Knyzhov (18 GP), Erik Karlsson (14 GP), Dylan Gambrell (14 GP), Radim Simek (12 GP), Stefan Noesen (5 GP), Nicolas Meloche (5 GP), Fredrik Claesson (4 GP), Alexander Chmelevski (2 GP), Jacob Middleton (1 GP), Kurtis Gabriel (1 GP), Joel Kellman (1 GP), Fredrik Handemark (1 GP)

0 Assists

This season’s Sharks are once again getting it done by committee, with no players who have played in more than five games without at least a point so far. Just seven players are without assists, but only one of them will surprise you.

Noah Gregor has three goals so far, but no assists in 14 games. While the Sharks are scoring by committee, Gregor is a one-man wrecking ball, scoring all three of his goals at even-strength. Only five players have scored more goals than Gregor, and just two have more goals at even-strength (five other players are tied with three). He’s tallied 23 shots and 40 unblocked shots and attempts, shooting at 13.04 percent.

The assists on his goals also come from multiple players: Mario Ferraro, Dylan Gambrell, Timo Meier and Nicolas Meloche have all tallied helpers on Gregor’s goals. Gambrell is the only player to have multiple assists on Gregor goals, with one primary and one secondary assist.

Seems like a good idea to pass it to Gregor.

0 assists: Noah Gregor (14 GP), Stefan Noesen (5 GP), Fredrik Claesson (4 GP), Jacob Middleton (1 GP), Kurtis Gabriel (1 GP)

0 Penalties

While Evander Kane leads the team with 15 penalties taken, pretty much everyone on the team is at fault for at least one penalty so far this season.

The best of the most disciplined players, though? That’d be rookie forward John Leonard, who has played 13 games without sitting in the penalty box once. Total conjecture here, but I’ve often gotten the impression that former collegiate players play a more disciplined game when they make the jump to the big leagues.

In three years at UMass Amherst, Leonard played 109 games and totaled 42 penalty minutes. Last season was his best yet, averaging just 0.24 penalty minutes per game, taking four total penalties all season.

Lady Byng, here comes John Leonard.

0 penalties: John Leonard (13 GP), Rudolfs Balcers (8 GP), Nicolas Meloche (5 GP), Fredrik Claesson (4 GP), Alexander Chmelevski (2 GP), Kurtis Gabriel (1 GP), Fredrik Handemark (1 GP)

0 Shutouts

How long do you think it took before the Sharks earned a shutout last season?

It wasn’t until Game 58, visiting the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center in February that the Sharks managed to hold off another team from scoring for a full 60 minutes. Martin Jones was in net and Dylan Gambrell and Melker Karlsson scored for the Sharks.

The only other shutout of the season came at the end of that month in Game 65, where Martin Jones backstopped the team to a 5-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

We’re looking ahead to Game 19 in the 2021 season and neither Sharks goaltender has earned a shutout yet. They’ve allowed three or more goals in 15 of their 18 games so far.

This is a team stat as much as it’s a goaltending stat. The team has to be able to support their goaltenders — especially when it’s obvious the goaltenders aren’t going to stand on their heads.

There are only 56 games this season. I’m not sure I expect this column to ever change from zero.

Miscellaneous Zeroes

  • Patrick Marleau has played 8:09 on the power play this season and has zero shots on goal in that time.
  • Matt Nieto is the only player with a zero faceoff win percentage. He’s only taken one faceoff, and he lost it.
  • The only players with zero shots on goal have only played one game. That’d be Kurtis Gabriel and Fredrik Handemark. Gabriel is the only skater with zero unblocked shots or attempts.
  • Three players who have at least one assist have zero primary assists: Alexander Chmelevski (1 assist, 2 GP), Radim Simek (2 assists, 12 GP) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2 assists, 18 GP).
  • Four players who have at least one assist have no secondary assists: John Leonard (3 assists, 13 GP), Matt Nieto (1 assist, 18 GP), Marcus Sorensen (1 assist, 14 GP), and Nicolas Meloche (1 assist, 5 GP).
  • While Erik Karlsson has a zero shooting percentage with 29 shots on goal, Mario Ferraro isn’t far behind with his 26 shots and zero shooting percentage.
  • Nikolai Knyzhov has 13 shots this season and has created zero rebounds. Dylan Gambrell has 10 shots and zero rebounds created.
  • Matt Nieto and Rudolfs Balcers are the only players with more than five games played who have drawn zero penalties.
  • Radim Simek is the only player with more than five games played with zero takeaways.

All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Hockey-Reference, HockeyViz and Elite Prospects. Support their work!

Credit to my colleague Brady Klopfer, who regularly posts “No Stats Updates” on the Golden State Warriors on his Twitter, for the idea.