Steven Lorentz 2023 player review: Reliably reliable fourth liner

Forward Steven Lorentz was a reliable fourth line center for the Sharks last season, but can he be more for the team moving forward?

Steven Lorentz 2023 player review: Reliably reliable fourth liner

As discussed in an earlier review (see Luke Kunin 2023 player review), Sharks' General Manager Mike Grier set out to make the Sharks a more difficult team to play against. That meant adding big bodies with grit.

In July, Grier sent Brent Burns and Lane Pederson to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Steven Lorentz, goaltender Eetu Makiniemi and a 2023 third-round pick.

Makiniemi is a promising goaltending prospect who suffered a setback due to injury earlier this season. Lorentz was billed as a two-way player. There was nothing in his game to amaze fans. He was supposed to be reliable and that's exactly what he was.

Lorentz's 2022-23 production

Lorentz missed only two games for the Sharks this season and registered 19 points.

Games Played G A P PIM +/- SOG Shooting %
80 10 9 19 16 -18 111 9.0%

10 goals, 9 assists is along the lines of what you're looking for from a fourth line player.

We should also note that this was the first "full" season the 27-year-old has played in the NHL. He played 45 games for Carolina in 2020-21 and 67 games in 2021-22.

Lorentz's Individual Point Percentage (IPP)

One of the standout stats for Lorentz is his Individual Points Percentage (IPP). The IPP looks at the percentage of goals for a team while the player is on the ice that the player earned a point on.

Lorentz's IPP was 73.08% this season. That means when the Sharks scored with him on the ice, he was involved in some way, shape or form. That percentage tops all Sharks players with 500 minutes of ice time or more.

He was better than Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture and Timo Meier. Guys like Karlsson and Meier are expected to have high IPPs because they are considered elite playmakers with high offensive upside. A guy like Lorentz is not.

For comparison's sake, Tim Stuzle of the Ottawa Senators had a 73.17% IPP and the Florida Panthers' Carter Verhaeghe had a 73.00% IPP. Lorentz ranked 55th in IPP at all strengths in the entire league.

In Lorentz's past two seasons, his IPP was 57.14% (2020-21) and 56.52% (2021-22).

This year's IPP could mean one of two things for Lorentz. It could be an outlier and Lorentz's numbers will come back down to earth next season. Or, it could mean Lorentz is being rewarded for making the right moves at the right time.  

According to Natural Stat Trick, Lorentz gave the puck away 15 times this season. He is credited with 46 takeaways, which means approximately three takeaways for every turnover. As you know, you can't score unless you have the puck and Lorentz does a good job of getting the puck back for his team.  

In addition to takeaways, getting the puck back can also mean finding ways to separate a player from the puck. Lorentz blocked 46 shots this season. He also led the Sharks in hits with 133. In other words, he used his body to influence the play.  

Lorentz's other attributes

Lorentz averaged 11:50 of ice time per game; about a minute of that time was on the penalty kill. He was praised for his work on the PK by Sharks' Assistant Coach Ryan Warsofsky.

“Lory's been good, another guy like Nico, he's got that long stick that you can recover quick. Good first step, and he knows what we're doing because we ran a very similar system back in Charlotte,” Warsofsky told Shen Peng of San Jose Hockey Now in February.

Lorentz was also capable in the faceoff circle. Considered the fourth line center, he took a majority of the faceoffs and won 47.90% of those faceoffs.

Lorentz's future with the Sharks

Lorentz's cap hit is $1.05 million through this upcoming season. It's a good deal for the Sharks, who have lacked depth. The Sharks' roster is top-heavy, and there's not a lot of extra money to go around. Lorentz is an NHL player at a very affordable price.

He has proven he can play responsible hockey at the highest level, kill penalties and plays the kind of game that Grier wants.

The Sharks will be just fine with Lorentz playing in a fourth line center role this upcoming season. He'll do what needs to be done and he's someone the coaching staff can rely on in a pinch.

If there's a downside, it's that this is his peak. He's probably destined to remain in the fourth line role and moving him up the lineup might put him out of his depth.

If the Sharks intend to sign him beyond this season, it cannot be for much more than the $1.05 million he is making now.

Editor's Note: Over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out the player reviews for the San Jose Sharks. We realize there were a lot of guys rotating into and out of the lineup and some of the key depth players were traded. As a result, Fear the Fin plans to focus on the players that are 1) still with the Sharks and 2) played 20 or more games for San Jose this season.