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Preview/Lines #37: Will This Time Be Different for Ferraro on Power Play?

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mario Ferraro has been bumped up to the San Jose Sharks’ power play unit once again.

Over the last three years, Ferraro has been given shots on the man advantage. These experiments weren’t rousing successes.

Per Natural Stat Trick, Ferraro’s 2.18 Points Per 60 on the PP from 2020 to 2023 was fifth-worst in the NHL (of 100 blueliners, 100-plus minutes). Obviously, that’s not all on Ferraro, he wasn’t exactly playing with a murderer’s row on San Jose’s second unit.

Regardless, it felt like the Sharks were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Ferraro, their only clear-cut NHL-caliber draft pick from 2016 to 2020 still with the organization, was being given every chance to shine.

But instead, it felt like Ferraro was doing too much, getting overextended.

This time feels a little bit different for the 25-year-old defenseman.

The San Jose Sharks have avoided force-feeding Ferraro onto the power play this season, even in the absence of Erik Karlsson, trying Mikael Granlund, Kyle Burroughs, Calen Addison, Jacob MacDonald, Nikolai Knyzhov, and Ty Emberson at the point over Ferraro.

Instead, there seemed to be a renewed focus on Ferraro to do less and concentrate on the defensive end this year.

“I’m really trying to focus on the little things defensively and really hone in on those things and try and get better and better at specific areas,” Ferraro said. “Having a good stick, having a good gap, and lately, these games have been a big challenge of that. I think the more I focus on that and trying not to do too much, that’s where I get the offensive opportunities.”

That’s what different this time around for Ferraro. He’s had a recent offensive uptick that seems natural and not forced, and hasn’t taken away from his defense. From Nov. 25 to Dec. 23, Ferraro’s six 5-on-5 points in 14 games, which includes one goal and three primary assists , was 20th in NHL (of 202 defensemen, 100-plus minutes).

“It feels good to see progression without necessarily going out and looking for it and just kind of letting the game come to me,” he said.

Here’s an example from last week:

The Ferraro (38) pass to Fabian Zetterlund (20) might have been fortunate, but the Ferraro read to push the attack when William Eklund (72) falls was a smart, aggressive offensive read.

No one is confusing Ferraro with Cale Makar — and in that same game, his giveaway led directly to a Nils Aman goal — but overall, he’s had both a positive offense and defensive impact on the Sharks over the last month or so.

San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn has noticed, hence putting Ferraro back on the power play.

“This is by far the best Mario has played since I’ve been here, and from what people have been telling me, probably his career,” Quinn said. “There is a confidence in him, there is a calmness in him, and there is a lot to like about his game right now.”

So will the fourth time be the charm for Ferraro on the power play?

He looked good enough on it on Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers, his season debut on the PP, that he’s going to get another shot at it tonight versus the Colorado Avalanche.

For Ferraro, he’s going to keep trying to do more by doing less.

“You can’t overcomplicate things,” he said. “I’m not gonna be a guy like Karlsson was last year with crazy plays, but I’m gonna try to move the puck quickly and do what I can. It’s the second unit, so I don’t get much time out there, so it’s more important to just get pucks to the net, move pucks quick, and generate chances in the remaining time on the power play.

”We just have to keep things simple. That’s all there really is to it.”

SAN JOSE SHARKS (9-24-3)

Quinn said that Kaapo Kahkonen will start, Mackenzie Blackwood will back up. Emberson comes off the IR and will pair with Ferraro in his first game since Dec. 3. Burroughs will sit.

COLORADO AVALANCHE (22-11-3)

Avalanche vs. Sharks, Game 37: Lines, Starting Goalies & How To Watch

WHERE TO WATCH

Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche is 5 PM PT at Ball Arena. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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