Meet Tommy Wingels, a young forward who notched nine points (3 goals and 6 assists) in 33 games for the Sharks last season. Drafted in the 6th round (177th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Wingels has developed into a skilled young talent.
Tim Burke, the head of scouting the for the San Jose Sharks, called him a “competitor”, and Wingels has proven him correct.
He may be small for an NHL player (6’0″, 190 pounds), but the energy and hustle that he brings makes up for it.
Wingels does the little things on the ice that rarely show up on the stat sheet. Winning a battle on the boards, reaching in with the stick to deflect a pass away, or clearing the puck when his team needs a line change are just a few examples.
Actually, there is a stat that shows exactly what Wingels brings to the Sharks. It is a virtually unknown statistic called the “Corsi rating”.
Kent Wilson of the Calgary Herald explains:
Corsi is a ‘puck possession’ stat in that it acts as a proxy for zone time. If a player has a higher Corsi rating, it means his team is getting more shots at the opposing net while he is on the ice and therefore the puck is spending more time in his team’s possession at the offensive end of the rink. On the other hand, a player with a negative Corsi is seeing more rubber flying at his net and is therefore spending more time defending. As a result, dominant players (and teams) tend to have higher Corsi ratings and vice versa. Some of the best players in the league by this metric since it started being tracked include Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin and Ryan Kesler.”
So say the Sharks were playing the Anaheim Ducks. if the Sharks had 40 shots 25 shots, San Jose would have a Corsi rating of +15. Same goes for individual players; it is the difference in shots on goal during the period that the individual player is on the ice.
Tommy Wingels’ Corsi rating is a +12.5, which is second-best among the Sharks’ forwards. That means that the Sharks are averaging 12.5 more shots than their opponent whenever Wingels is on the ice.
But there’s more to it. Like Kent Wilson explained, Corsi rating directly corresponds to puck possession and zone time. The more shots on net, the more time is spent in the opponent’s defensive end.
That’s what Wingels brings to this team. Because he creates so many shots when on the ice, he can create instant chemistry with anybody. Wingels played on the first, second, and fourth lines during his 33 games with the Sharks. Towards the end of the season, he was a fixture on the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Daniel Winnik, and that was one of the Sharks’ most consistent and hard-working groups during the playoffs.
Despite having limited NHL experience, Tommy Wingels has already shown what he is capable of doing on the ice. He is currently an restricted free-agent, but it is almost a guarantee that he will return to the Sharks next season. Look for Wingels to be a consistent contributor for the Sharks’ next season, and let’s hope that he is not overlooked as just another NHL fourth-liner.