Tyler Kennedy didn’t get an invite to the offensive eruption party. The San Jose Sharks have been scoring goals at a ludicrous pace, and they have five different players with double-digit point totals despite the team having played eight games total. Joe Pavelski is second in the league in scoring, Tomas Hertl is looking like a legitimate Calder Trophy candidate, and Patrick Marleau is ageless.
Kennedy, on the other hand, has one goal and has registered two assists on the season. He hasn’t been bad by any stretch, as the bottom-six has been charged with protecting the leads that the top two lines have been able to generate. Still, there’s more offensive muscle to Kennedy’s game than he’s let on so far.
Consider his output for the Pittsburgh Penguins while he was still in Steel City. In 2010-11, he scored 21 goals and added 24 assists while playing less than 15 minutes a night. If the logic was that the defense was just tired after chasing around Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, then the same holds true for Kennedy’s situation right now.
He’s playing more than 16 minutes a night for San Jose, and has popped out at times when he’s felt comfortable utilizing his skill and making a mildly flashy play. See his only goal of the season for the evidence.
That’s an awesome wrist shot to be sure, but the timing of it was perfect. Kennedy has some offensive instincts that he has yet to show, and once he settles in he’s going to be one of the better third-line scoring threats in the NHL. Not as dangerous as Pavelski of course, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Kennedy rack up 20 goals by the end of the season, and perform even better next season.
He’s not in San Jose to dominate in the offensive zone, but he’s been an awesome two-way player for the Sharks and has that kind of upside. He showed it with the Penguins, and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out with the Sharks.