There are many potential reasons why Erik Karlsson has become the best story of the first 20 percent of the San Jose Sharks’ season.
Apparently, his sticks are on the list.
Karlsson has been remarkable for the Sharks early in the 2022-23 campaign. He leads the team in goals (10), points (22) and time on ice (25:30 per game). He has more even-strength points (16) than anyone has total on the club, but he is also setting the pace with six power-play points. And he has the club’s two overtime goals, with another game-winner mixed in as well.
He is shooting the puck more this season. His 53 shots on goal are second on the team to Timo Meier and well clear of everyone else (Luke Kunin is third with 36).
Karlsson has 116 shot attempts in 17 games, which is also second to Meier on the Sharks. That’s nearly seven per game. In Karlsson’s first season with San Jose, he had 389 shot attempts in 53 games (7.34 per), but he has averaged fewer than five per contest in each of the past three years.
His 2022-23 output isn’t close to some of his Norris Trophy-contender seasons in Ottawa. He actually had 183 attempts in only 17 games in 2012-13. But there is definitely an uptick in his volume from the past three seasons.
“I’ve got great new sticks from Warrior,” Karlsson said after San Jose’s come-from-behind 3-2 win Sunday in Minnesota. “That’s what it is.”
Whether or not that was just a joyful Karlsson offering a funny postgame quip, shooting the puck more has been working for him. He’s already matched his best goal total (10) since joining the franchise, and he’s got plenty of runway left to achieve a sixth 15-goal season or even a third 20-goal campaign in his illustrious career.