In Game 2 against the Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks blueliner Marc-Edouard Vlasic exited the contest after blocking a shot. His future playoff is murky and so is Team Teal’s if they have to continue without their defensive stopgap.
The San Jose Sharks are going to be without their best overall defender in game 3 versus Vegas. He left the game after blocking a Shea Theodore shot seemingly up high a minute into the second frame.
Coach Pete DeBoer had to shuffle the deck defensively, handing out monster minutes to the likes of Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns. Each of them eclipsed the 29 minute mark and saw an uptick in penalty kill responsibilities. Expect that to continue without DeBoer’s crutch in the defensive zone.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s style of play is dwindling in today’s NHL. However he remains effective and is extremely crucial for the San Jose Sharks recipe for success. He plays an important role in all 3 zones even though he doesn’t produce all that much on the stat sheet unless he’s on a hot streak (like he is currently on).
Down the home stretch of the regular season Marc-Edouard Vlasic registered 12 points in his final 20 games, and has produced a goal and an assist during his brief time in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vlasic’s ability to drive play despite his role is extremely impressive.
His ability to keep the San Jose Sharks afloat is uncanny. He’s able to maintain a 48.52% GF% and a solid 50.35% CF%, which might seem like below average to average numbers but if you put it into context they actually tell the story of an elite level blueliner.
Pickles is consistently being matched up against the opposing teams best line-up configurations, at both 5v5 and the penalty kill. Whether that be the likes of Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, or Mark Stone like in their current series against the Knights. Vlasic consistently gets lined up versus the best offensively talent this league has to offer.
It’s sort of ridiculous how much Team Teal depends on the 32-year-old defender. If the San Jose Sharks have a start in their own zone it’s almost a guarantee that Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be deployed for the defensive zone face-off.
This trend can be represented by his 22.22% zone start ratio at 5v5 during the first two games of the playoffs and a 45.17% regular season ZSR at 5v5 . These stats exhibit the San Jose Sharks dependence on Vlasic’s abilities to suppress shots and exit the puck from their own end of the ice.
With Pickles on the shelf for game 3 someone on Team Teal’s blue line is going to have to step and take those defensive zone starts. It will be interesting to see who DeBoer leans on down for those key defensive assignments.
The San Jose Sharks coach staff have some tough decisions to make in regards to line-up configurations in all situations and potential match-up assignments. Without their best defensive blueliner Team Teal is going to rely on other defenders within their ranks to step up and take more defensive responsibilities.
The statistics in this article are provided by Corsica.Hockey unless stated otherwise.