Erik Karlsson’s Impact on the Ice for the San Jose Sharks

Erik Karlsson is going to announce soon whether he will rejoin the San Jose Sharks next season. Will Team Teal miss EK65 if he decides to leave the Bay Area?

It took a bit of time for Erik Karlsson’s impact on the San Jose Sharks to take full effect on the ice. But as the familiarity between the players built the level of skill started to increase.

They sputtered at times exchanging wins for losses for the first two months of the season. The San Jose Sharks entered the month of December with a 12 – 9 – 5 overall record. They were driving possession and shooting at a high volume but were unable to score goals at a consistent pace.

Erik Karlsson compiled 15 points during that span with only 1 goal in the first 26 games played. The most important season is San Jose Sharks history was off to a rough start with questions surrounding whether acquiring the all world defenseman was the right move started to arise around the league.

However after EK65′s mellow dramatic return to Ottawa on December 1st. The time was nigh for the San Jose Sharks to jump start their lackluster 2018 – 2019 campaign. After the  disheartening homecoming performance the Sharks luck started to turn around, especially when Karlsson was on the ice.

From 12/2/2018 – 1/16/2019 (the game where he apparently got injured) the Sharks were an offensive powerhouse scoring 95 goals in just 23 games played. This was paired with a 55 CF, FF, and SF percentage as a team at 5v5, per naturalstattrick. Stringing together some impressive winning streaks in the process.

Up until the concerns surrounding Karlsson’s health in the regular season started to linger the Sharks were almost unstoppable when he was on the ice. At 5v5 EK65 was on ice for 31 goals scored, drastically outpacing his expected on ice goal totals of 21.36, per naturalstatrick.

Coinciding with the ridiculous goal scoring totals, Team Teal dominated possession when the Swedish skater got deployed by Coach DeBoer. San Jose buried their opponents in their own zone registering a nearly 60% CF, FF, and SF when EK65 was able to fully engage himself in the offense.

Sadly the super nova Sharks didn’t last too long with Erik Karlsson suffering  an injury that occurred in the final moments of a game versus the Arizona Coyotes on January 16th. EK65 sat on San Jose’s roster listed as day-to-day for over a month only returning for a brief stint where he appeared to have re aggravated that same injury in a game versus the Boston Bruins.

Erik Karlsson did return for the Stanley Cup Playoffs albeit at a limited capacity. Despite the hindrance EK65 was still one of San Jose’s most effective skaters. He was able to contribute offensively leading the team in assists and tying with Burns in overall points produced by blueliners.

Not only did his steady play keep the Sharks offense afloat during crucial moments of the postseason. His ability to transition the puck relieved a lot of pressure off some of San Jose’s forwards. This gave them more time to focus on creating space in the offensive zone instead of trying to desperately to get the puck across the blue line.

Even adding Erik Karlsson wasn’t enough for the Sharks to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. But considering all the injuries is that really a fair way to look at it? When EK65 got optimized San Jose was nearly unstoppable on both ends of the ice and if it wasn’t for poor goaltending this team would have likely ended up with quite a few more points in the standings.

The price tag for Karlsson is steep and could be risky for the San Jose Sharks, but in the short term there isn’t anyone available who will make your team better than EK65 (even at 75%). People in Shark Territory need to wary of what things might be like without the 29-year-old in the Bay Area.