The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Joe Thornton, C, San Jose Sharks
Key stats: 1PPG, 5PPA
Cap hit: $7 million annually
Kudos to TSN’s Scott Cullen for bringing this statistic to my attention. He astutely points out that with six powerplay points this season, Joe Thornton sits behind such luminaries as Tim Stapleton, Corey Potter and Frans Nielsen.
To give you an idea of how bad that PP production is — by Thornton’s standards, of course — consider where he’s finished in recent seasons:
2010-11: 9G-24A-33PTS, 7th in the NHL
2009-10: 4G-25A-29PTS, 16th in the NHL
2008-09: 11G-24A-35PTS, 13th in the NHL
2007-08: 11G-26A-37PTS, 7th in the NHL
At the time of writing, NHL.com had Thorton ranked 163rd.
With this lack of production, it’s no surprise San Jose has struggled with the man advantage. The Sharks currently rank 16th in the league (17.7 percent), a far cry from their usual top-five placing — heck, they had the NHL’s second-best PP a year ago (23.5 percent).
This isn’t for a lack of opportunity, either. Thornton’s actually averaging more PP ice time per game this season than he was last season and is still tops among all Sharks forwards in TOI.
So wake up, Joe Thorton. Your powerplay needs you.