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Exit Interview: Labanc Says His 5v5 Stats Have “Been Pretty Good” — He’s Right

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Kevin Labanc – like Timo Meier – is another example of a San Jose Sharks player whose production plateaued in 2018-19.

Two years ago, Labanc notched a career-high 56 points. Last year, his production dropped to a 39-point pace over 82 games. This season, he’s on a full-season 43-point pace.

Labanc, however, argued today in his exit interview that his 5-on-5 game “has been pretty good” – it’s his power play production that’s holding him back.

And according to Natural Stat Trick, Labanc is right.

At the moment, the 25-year-old winger is averaging 2.04 Points Per Game at 5-on-5, third among San Jose Sharks forwards behind Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane. In 2018-19? He boasted a healthy 2.12 Points Per Game.

Believe it or not, Labanc has actually been less productive at 5-on-4 than 5-on-5 this year, averaging just 1.55 Points Per Game on the man advantage. In 2018-19? 6.12 Points Per Game.

Labanc has had just three 5-on-4 points this season – he had 19 in 2018-19. Would 16 more points look pretty good on Labanc’s ledger?

This freefall in power play production has mirrored the San Jose Sharks’. In 2018-19, they were sixth in the NHL with a 23.7 % PP success rate. Last year, they were 23rd in the league at 17.5 % — and currently, they’re 28th in the NHL at 14.2 %.

Here are some of the highlights from Labanc’s exit interview:

Kevin Labanc, on his production:

I definitely want to be producing more offensively. I think the power play hasn’t really found its groove in the past little bit. Once the power play gets going, production starts going up as well. I think 5-on-5, my game has been pretty good.

Labanc, on the San Jose Sharks’ power play issues:

Yeah, you can’t waste a second on the power play. Make a missed pass, just trying to break in again. It’s hard to do.

You just got to really clean up everything. When you’re out there on the power play, possession breaking in, getting shots through, and then recovering the pucks after you shoot it.

Not necessarily make the pretty play, but make some more of those greasy second, third chances around the net. That’s what it’s going to take. I think shot volume is going to be a big, big thing for next year.

Labanc, on the mental toll from this pandemic-shortened season:

Yeah, it was definitely challenging. Felt like you’re just going from the rink to your house to your house to the rink. There was just no normalcy, which really sucked. But hopefully, things change next year.

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[…] Kevin Labanc – like Timo Meier – is another example of a San Jose Sharks player whose production plateaued in 2018-19. Two years ago, Labanc notched a career-high 56 points. Last year, his production dropped to a 39-point pace over 82 games. This season, he’s on a full-season 43-point pace. (San Jose Hockey Now) […]

david barnard

Labanc also has put up Eichel similar PP A1/60 numbers (1.63) the last 3 combined seasons. i think the Sharks are getting pretty decent value out of him. i’d hold off on moving him for something for the time being.

The Masala Slapper

I think you’ve made the case they’re getting decent value. But top 6 value? Factoring his cap hit and the team needs? Just wondering how you think he fits in the bigger picture.

david barnard

he’s a top 6 player on the Sharks. it would be like Andre Burakovsky suddenly joining the team. he’d play in the top 6 here. he’s also in that range of similar cap% as Labanc. so, even as a 3rd liner on a very good team, he’s making a little more than Labanc, actually. i always try to look at the money from a cap% angle and compare to players around the league. it’s still a little bit high, but that’s the price of doing business sometimes.

david barnard

here’s his player card for 3-yr avg and his 1-yr (2020-21). you’ll see his gotten better, but still not a player to lean on defensively.

Screenshot_2021-05-14 Evolving-Hockey com Player Cards.png
david barnard

won’t let me upload more than 1 photo.

Screenshot_2021-05-14 Evolving-Hockey com Player Cards(1).png
Zeke

Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t defense part of hockey, too? The issue with Labanc isn’t whether he can make offensive contributions, its whether those contributions outweigh the liability side of the equation. As for his points production being 3rd on the team at even strength (25), he had 1 more point than Logan (24), who was injured and had just 8 ES points in the last 29 games after 16 in 24 games to start the season. He also played on the top lines most of the time with the team’s top players. The only one he really came out… Read more »

david barnard

his defense isn’t as bad as most think it is, and he’s shown marginal improvement from season to season. just some stats:

On-Ice CA: 798 (2018-19), 762 (2019-20), 680 (2020-21).
On-Ice CF%: 55.59 (2018-19), 55.41 (2019-20), 51.01 (2020-21)

On-Ice xGA: 36.49 (2018-19), 36.13 (2019-20), 30.12 (2020-21)
On-Ice xG%: 51.96 (2018-19), 54.15 (2019-20), 51.53 (2020-21)

On-Ice HDCA: 184 (2018-19), 176 (2019-20), 138 (2020-21)
On-Ice HDCF%: 48.89 (2018-19), 53.07 (2019-20), 51.06 (2020-21)

OZ Faceoff Start%: 64.86 (2018-19), 61.23 (2019-20), 47.29 (2020-21)

david barnard

an even better measurement would be relative to TM.

CA/60Rel (2020-21): -3.51 (negative value is good).
xGA/60Rel (2020-21): 0.08 (about normal over the last 2 seasons)
HDCA/60Rel (2020-21): -0.26 (again neg value is good)

david barnard

he’s also been a consistently historical Net Neutral penalty differential.

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