San Jose Sharks Season Review: Melker Karlsson


There were very few, if any, San Jose Sharks fans who knew the name of Melker Karlsson before the 2014-15 season; however, after a breakout campaign, Karlsson’s name shouldn’t be unfamiliar to those who follow the Sharks.

Melker Karlsson was an unknown prospect when he was originally signed out of Sweden, and before he was called up by San Jose on Dec. 9, 2014. Immediately, Karlsson was inserted into the lineup for that night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Karlsson wasted no time in getting on the score sheet, registering his first career NHL point, in 11:53 of ice time while being a plus-two.

From that point on, the “Melk Man,” as he became to be known, ensured that he would remain in San Jose throughout the remainder of the season.

Karlsson scored his first NHL goal against the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 22, but he would go on an incredible hot streak at the start of 2015. In an eight-day span (five games) from Jan 3. to Jan. 10, Karlsson officially put his name on the map by scoring in each game, which tied a Sharks franchise record for a rookie.

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It was that goal-scoring streak that let everyone know Melker Karlsson could play at the NHL level. After beginning as the third-line center, Karlsson would eventually move up to the first line, as he found himself next to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. While his production faded as the season wore on, Karlsson showed enough for the coaching staff to increase his ice time.

Karlsson finished the year leading all Sharks rookies with 13 goals and 24 points in 53 games. He finished fifth on the team with 1.58 points per 60 while finishing fourth with a Corsi For percentage of 54.8. Obviously, both those numbers were buoyed by playing alongside Thornton, who will make anyone look good, but Karlsson proved that he could contribute.

Due to his strong performance, Karlsson was named as the Sharks Rookie of the Year, although I felt Chris Tierney deserved the honor. Regardless, Karlsson should now be able to carry the momentum as he parlayed his 2014-15 success into a new two-year deal in San Jose.

Peter DeBoer has an interesting decision to see where to slot Karlsson. He could keep him on the first line, but it’s more likely that he could find himself providing depth on the the third line. Either way, Karlsson’s versatility should prove an asset as he can move around depending upon his own play and the play of the other forwards.

Melker Karlsson was a surprising bright spot for the Sharks in an otherwise down year for the franchise. The key for Karlsson will be to avoid the sophomore slumps that fellow forwards Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto endured. If he can do that, Karlsson should remain a mainstay in the Sharks lineup for years to come.

Next: Top 10 Home Games In 2015-16 - Part Two

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