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Ten Game Report Card
Games 21-30 (11/28 thru 12/16)
12/17/2021 - By Mike Lee

We take a look at the Sharks in ten game increments and provide grades over that span. This report covers games 21 thru 30, which were played from November 28th thru December 16th. In that span the Sharks went 5-5-0, which included a second big win over Calgary and victories over lower ranked teams, Chicago, New Jersey, Dallas and the New York Islanders.

This 10-game span also included disappointing losses to Seattle and Vancouver. Both of those opponents were behind the Sharks in the standings. Losses to the Rangers, Columbus and Minnesota round out the on again, off again span.

Offense Grade: C-

In this 10-game spam the offense scored 25 goals, averaging 2.50 goals per game, which ranked 25th in comparison to other teams in the league. In that span, only Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier are scoring with any regularity. Of the regular forwards who are playing, Alexander Barabanov: 0 goals, Nick Bonino: 2 goals, Logan Couture: 2 goals, Jonathan Dahlen: 1 goal, Noah Gregor: 1 goal, Kevin Labanc: 0 goals, Matt Nieto: 0 goals, Lane Pederson: 0 goals, Jasper Weatherby: 0 goals.

Results - Last 10
2-0 W
5-2 W
2-1 W (OT)
1-0 L
6-4 L
5-3 W
5-2 L
2-1 W
3-1 L
5-2 L
So in this current 10-game span, Sharks forwards not named Hertl or Meier combined to score 6 goals. It's actually quite amazing that they won 5 games in that span given the lack of offense.

Their goals per game actually rose .30 goals per game, but the absence of scoring cost them in games they should have won.

Defense Grade: B-

The Sharks surrendered 27 goals (2.70 goals per game), which ranked 20th in the league. Now that San Jose is past its COVID issues, the defensive corps is whole, and the Sharks improved slightly in goals allowed.

Radim Simek has been the whipping boy of the defensemen, being scratched three times in the 10-game span. Head Coach Bob Boughner is also starting to strip playing time from his bottom end defenseman. Once a stalwart on the blueline, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is starting to see half the ice time that guys like Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson are receiving. That's not an unwarranted move. Vlasic has actually played better with fewer minutes.

The plan is clearly to wait out opponents, and the Sharks were able to improve over the prior 10-game span, where they allowed 3.00 goals per game. Their current 2.70 goals per game stat is also skewed by three losses in which they gave up 5 goals or more. If they hold those teams to three goals, their average drops 1.00 goals per game, which is a huge improvement.

Boughner has also self-inflated that average by pulling his goaltender in situations that tend to result in free goals.

Goaltending Grade: C

It's clear that the Sharks are starting to shift towards their veteran goaltender James Reimer when he's healthy. An undisclosed illness cost Reimer a few games in early December, which meant the Sharks were forced to rely on Adin Hill.

Hill could only muster 2 wins in 6 starts for San Jose, logging a .904 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average. Remember the 3.00 goals against that the team recorded during that span.

Reimer has clearly played better, and his stats show it. The netminder was 3-1-0 during the current 10-game span, with a .961 save percentage and a 1.26 goals against. That's 1.5 fewer goals allowed per game when Reimer is in net. Same defense in front of him, but far superior results.

The fact is, Hill was given an opportunity to show that he was deserving of more playing time, and he faltered. Look for Reimer to help raise this grade if he keeps performing at the same rate.

Power Play Grade: C

The power play went 4-for-18 (22.2%), putting them 16th out of the 32 teams in the league. The efficiency increased by almost 10%, but they only produced 1 more goal than in the previous 10-game span. Their issue is that they're not generating many power play chances. The 18 chances averages to less than 2 power play opportunities per game.

The efficiency isn't bad, but they need to work harder to generate chances.

Penalty Kill Grade: C-

What has been the strength of this team for most of the season, the Sharks saw a marked decline in their kill efficiency, dropping almost 8% to a 79.0% rate. The good news is, they allowed far fewer chances for the opposition. They allowed 32 power play opportunities in the prior 10-game span, but only 19 short-handed chances in the current span.

Their 79.0% kill rate ranked them 15th in the league.

Overall Grade: C-

Given the arrows in the quiver, the Sharks should be better than the 11th team in the Western Conference. They get a pass given their primary tool between the pipes, Reimer, missed several games. Losing 3-of-5 games at home on their current 7-game home stand has been disappointing no doubt, especially when one of those losses comes at the hand of the expansion Seattle Kraken.

With the first 30 games in the rear view mirror, the Sharks have had ample opportunity to gel as a team and to find their legs. The COVID issues they faced are also behind them, so now it's time to put up or shut up.

The dog days of the season are about to show us all if the Sharks can put their defense first roadmap into effect and start to win games. San Jose will play 5 games at home, and 5 on the road, including a 4-game trip through Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo and Philadelphia.

We'll have a better sense of who this team is come mid-January.


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