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Micro-Stats Reveal More About Karlsson, Burns, Kane, Couture, Other Sharks



Photo: Brandon Magnus

Earlier in the week, analytics leader JFreshHockey dropped a shower of micro-stats, courtesy of third-party tracking company InStat.

InStat primarily tracks games manually, unlike say SPORTLOGiQ, which emphasizes AI tracking.

Take these stats with a grain of salt — their accuracy is in some dispute — but a trusted source tells me that these numbers are good enough for storytelling.

So what stories do these micro-stats tell about the San Jose Sharks?

Here are a couple of the main takeaways — believe it or not — Erik Karlsson is still doing a lot right offensively, while Brent Burns is underrated defensively.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been banging the same drum about these San Jose Sharks blueliners for months.

What Did Karlsson Do Well in 2020-21? | SJHN+

How Is Burns Still a Top Defenseman? | SJHN+

It’s not just about Karlsson and Burns here — Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Nikolai Knyzhov, Timo Meier, Patrick Marleau, Evander Kane, Ryan Donato, and Andrew Cogliano are mentioned too.


It’s probably not a surprise to see former San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton rock-bottom on the list of successful dekes.

On the other hand, seeing Karlsson near the top isn’t surprising. That’s good company that he’s keeping. Wow though, Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche is literally a video game.

And look, it’s Vlasic and his ex-partner Justin Braun (now with the Philadelphia Flyers) together again.


Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks paces everyone, but there’s Karlsson again — and again, in good company, in terms of his volume of successful passes.

Zone Entries

Timo Meier is underrated at gaining the zone with possession.

Karlsson, however, is not underrated in this category — and it’s good to see that he was as good as ever last year.

Zone Exits

Puck Battle Wins

A couple ex-Sharks — Thornton and Chris Tierney — stand out here. Teddy Bluegers of the Pittsburgh Penguins is a surprise star here too. And three Vegas Golden Knights forwards in the top-20 probably tells you a lot about why the Peter DeBoer-led squad is so tough to beat.

Is this a sign of where Patrick Marleau has faded? Andrew Cogliano also doesn’t show well here — so the San Jose Sharks will have to hope that he hasn’t lost a step.

Andy Greene of the New York Islanders tops this list — but Burns is close behind.

Former San Jose defensemen Braun and Dylan DeMelo also show well here.

I’m surprised to see Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins here.

And here’s an area where the young Knyzhov could use improvement — winning puck battles isn’t just about size.


Surprised to see Karlsson here?


Three San Jose Sharks forwards on this list probably offers some insight on why the team struggled so much.

Evander Kane and Meier, you can argue, are tasked with carrying the puck a lot and making something happen, hence their high turnover rate. You can’t make that argument, however, for Ryan Donato, which might explain why San Jose didn’t bother to qualify the RFA.

If you’re not producing and you’re a turnover machine, good luck sticking in the line-up.

On one hand, you’d expect someone who handles the puck a lot to lose it too — regardless, Karlsson’s biggest haters probably aren’t surprised to see him here. Some turnovers are to be expected from Karlsson, but this is an area where he can improve.

D-Zone Turnovers

At least Karlsson is safer with the puck in the most dangerous areas? It makes sense that more of his turnovers would be in the offensive zone, where he’s trying to make something happen. It doesn’t excuse all of them, but helps explain it.

Takeaways per Turnover

Not surprisingly, Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers is the model forward here.

And so’s Logan Couture — this supports his reputation as a reliable two-way player. Basically, he’s active taking the puck away from his opponents and he doesn’t lose it a lot.

Kane, however?

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