Sharks sign Marcus Sorensen to two-year contract extension

The forward has shown signs of improvement during his three years with the mother club.

The San Jose Sharks announced yesterday they have re-signed forward Marcus Sorensen to a two-year contract extension, through the 2020-21 season. The annual average value (AAV) of the contract is $1.5 million, according to Pierre LeBrun.

Sorensen is now in his third year with the team and has earned himself an additional two minutes of average ice time over his previous two-season average. Sorensen’s all-situations ice time ranks seventh on the team, and his minutes are a clear cut above the rest of those of the team’s bottom-six forwards.

Though Sorensen is putting up career highs in goals, assists and points, he’s only played 11 fewer games this season than his first two seasons combined. According to Natural Stat Trick, the forward’s rate of goals scored per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time is 0.67, a good bit below last year’s career-high mark of one goal per hour. However, he bolstered his goal-scoring rate with an unsustainable 21 percent shooting percentage at 5-on-5.

This season, the 26-year-old winger is shooting a more earthly 10.7 percent at 5-on-5, which is still a touch higher than league-average 5-on-5 shooting for forwards, which usually hovers around eight percent. There is reason to believe Sorensen’s current scoring is more sustainable. He is taking more 5-on-5 shots, more unblocked shots and creating more scoring chances and rebounds this year than he was last season, promising progression signs. Unless Sorensen is a phenomenal shooter, this is probably about the scoring rate we should expect of him moving forward.

This chart shows the impact Sorensen made on the team’s unblocked shot rates during his first two seasons. Focus on the “Isolated” column, as that is Micah Blake McCurdy’s attempt to tease out a player’s individual contribution after controlling for teammates, opponents, zone starts and game score. Sorensen was about average on defense and a bit below average on offense over his first two seasons. His individual contribution was one that provided the team with a smaller unblocked shot share than the Sharks opponents.

Leveraging the same techniques, McCurdy offers individual player impact charts that include the last two calendar years worth of shot data. While Sorensen’s defensive impact has worsened, he’s overcome that so-so showing with a more positive offensive impact. Both of these charts contain pieces of the winger’s 2017-18 season, so we don’t quite know how much of the improvement is this year compared to last year. Given Sharks coach Pete DeBoer’s increased trust in him, however, we can assume that Sorensen has made some strong progression of late.

Evolving-Wild’s model also attempts to isolate a player’s impact on game components such as goals, expected goals and shots. While Sorensen has not been able to improve upon his impact on team 5-on-5 goal scoring, he has shown marked improvement on his ability to positively impact expected goals and shots over the course of his career.

Sorensen is, at 26, unlikely to improve much more, if at all. However, if he continues to be an above-average player at 5-on-5, then his $1.5 million AAV is a great value, especially when you consider that the average AAV of non entry-level contracts for forwards is in the $4 million to $5 million range. Sorensen may never be a true top-six forward, but he’s done plenty to solidify himself as a useful top-nine guy who should never put too much stress on the Sharks’ salary structure.