There are two schools of thought about Mario Ferraro.
On the one hand, Ferraro is seen as a coach’s dream: the level of rivalry of the defending man, in matches and training, is off the charts. He’s a culture maker, a natural leader, and he also happens to be an accomplished skater.
It comes as no surprise, with only entering its third season this past year, that the San Jose Sharks have named Ferraro as their replacement captain.
On the flip side, while Ferraro is used as a defender of the top coupling stop, the results have not necessarily been followed likewise.
Over the past two seasons, when paired with regular partner Brent Burns, Ferraro has a -238 5-on-5 try differential. According to Natural Stat Trick, this is the worst of the 26 qualifying defensive pairs (1000+ 5 in 5 minutes combined) in this time period.
Basically, no shooter has bled like Ferraro-Burns over the past two years.
Of course, these analyzes do not take into account the diffusion of the coupling area (constant) and the quality of mates (low).
At the very least, Burns, now traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, had clear offensive value to make up for his questionable defensive results. But Ferraro, after a quick start to the year – two goals and eight assists in his first 19 games – finished his season with just four assists in his last 44 games.
In some ways, Ferraro is just another round in the now cliched debate about how accurate the analyzes are in judging defensive linemen.
All that said, I think Ferraro is an amazing midfield player who, due to the San Jose Sharks’ lack of developing depth, has been forced into higher pairing responsibilities. This is not his fault, and may explain some of his less satisfactory analyzes.
Ferraro doesn’t seem to be getting much help this year either, with Burns gone, and no obvious alternatives to his heavy minutes. We’ll see if Ferraro can continue to stay defensive to the sharks and spray more attack on top.
There is an argument that Ferraro was actually the San Jose Sharks’ worst offensive defensive line last year. According to SPORTLOGiQ, it was the worst among normal shark defenders with 1.25 plays 5-on-5 attack generation per 20.
Attack-generating plays, according to SPORTLOGiQ, “consist of all plays that lead to scoring opportunities. In other words, they’re games that move the disc into high-risk areas or situations, recover pucks for your team, and place high-quality shots on the net.”
It should be noted that Ferraro may have intentionally abandoned some offensive creativity to his partner Burns. I think it’s normal when playing with Burns to give him the disc and get out of the way. But with Burns not around anymore, it will likely be up to Ferraro to take charge and invoke more of the attack.
He’d have to be bolder: To underscore his lack of attack-generating plays, Ferraro was the last of the regular shark butt-guards with 0.33 5-on-5 Slot Passes per 20. Comprising Burns, Eric Carlson and Ryan Merkley in choppy shots, none of any another person. Nobody is asking Ferraro to replace Burns, but can he at least distinguish himself offensively from the defenders left in the house such as Mark Eduard Vlasic, Jacob Migna and his cohorts?
Ferraro has some offensive tools, including quick feet and powerful shots.
Meanwhile, defensively, Ferraro’s penchant for blocking shots is well known – he has led the Sharks on blocking shots, despite his brief injury campaign – but the youngster is more than just someone willing to put his body to the test.
He placed third among the Sharks’ defenders with a 2.06 5-on-5 Puck Battle Wins Per 20. He trails Vlasic and Radim Simek in this average stat, but Ferraro is credited for his individual defensive prowess against much stronger competition than Vlasic and Simek .
Ferraro is known for being a stubborn defender, which is underpinned by that number.
“I think he could do it, he’d be good in a second PU one day. But it’s not offensively dynamic, and it’s not ideal to be in a PP unit.
“I don’t see a lot of offensive potential. He will contribute some because of his ability to add to lunge attacks and his willingness to make an impact.”
“I’m excited to add more tools to my game. I’ve been a very defensive player, that aggressive D-zone player, and I would like to add more poise and offensive capabilities to my game, which I think I’m capable of. I can get out of my comfort zone, and use more More humiliation in my game and more creativity, if you will.” (Ferraro)
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