Patrick Sharp – A Statistical Approach

Source: Blackhawks website

Source: Blackhawks website

Patrick Sharp has been one of the many names associated with the Montreal Canadiens as of late. With his annual cap hit of 5.9M for two more seasons, many fans are hesitant for Marc Bergevin to try and acquire him. Sharp only has 10G and 21A this season, leaving him ranked at 133rd in points. Sharp is getting older (33 years old) and many fans believe that he is done. I believe they are wrong.

Shooting Percentage:

The first glaring reason that Patrick Sharp is struggling to score goals is his surprisingly awfully low shooting percentage. Patrick Sharp’s shooting percentage is at a career-low 6%, which is completely abnormal for him despite the 28 games that he played in 12-13 and had a shooting percentage of 6.8%. If we ignore that outlier, Sharp’s shooting percentages have been 10.9, 11.7, 12.7, 9.4 and 14.1(via NHL.com) in his four other past seasons. Patrick Sharp is having an unlucky year shooting the puck and I expect that it will only go up from here. This is a huge factor.

Puck Possession:

This season, Sharp is sitting comfortably at a 57.1 CF%, which is the third best of his career (25th currently in the NHL) despite having inconsistent line-mates and time on the fourth line. When Sharp is on the ice, his team has significantly better puck possession. You can hate on Sharp for not putting enough pucks in the net but he is as good as he’s ever been in terms of puck possession despite not being in the greatest of circumstances.

Zone Starts:

Patrick Sharp starts 67.6% of his face-offs in the offensive zone this season, which is currently a career high for him. Joel Quenneville is trying to get him going. How much has this been affecting his Corsi? Not much. His CF% when adjusted for his zone starts (shot attempts within the first 10 seconds after the face-off don’t count), is still high at 56.9% (26th in the league). The fact that he is starting more in the offensive zone has only accounted for .02% gain in puck possession. Patrick Sharp is still having a great season in terms of puck possession even when ignoring his high usage rate in the offensive zone.

Overview:

Dashboard 1-2

Source: http://ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

We can still see that Patrick Sharp is performing at the level of a 1st liner per 60 minutes. Something interesting to take away from this graph are his shots/60. Sharp is firing the puck a ton this season but the fact that he is only shooting at 6% is completely disguising the fact that he is having his chances. I don’t see why his shooting percentage won’t rise to be at least close to where it used to be. Stastically speaking, I think Sharp would be a great addition and certainly is a buy-low target.

More Than Just Numbers:

Of course hockey is a game of more than statistics. Great defensive plays and sweet passes aren’t represented in statistics. That being said, fromĀ a strictly statistical point of view I think Patrick Sharp is a great buy-low target for Bergevin at the deadline.

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* All statistics are taken from 5v5, even-strength hockey

** Statistics found at puckalytics.com, war-on-ice.com and stats.hockeyanalysis.com

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