The NHL’s trade deadline on March 3 is just four weeks away. Trade activity has been quiet so far, but it’s about to take off in the coming weeks. Last week I talked about Vladimir Tarasenko and looking at if he would be what the Flames need and if they should target him. Today’s focus is on San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc. The Sharks have made it known that they are listening to offers on every player but Tomas Hertl. In addition to that, Labanc has been healthy scratched a handful of times this season, so it’s likely he’ll be traded.
Kevin Labanc’s profile
Drafted in 2014 by the Sharks, the 27-year-old Labanc currently sits with 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 45 games. Career-wise he has 208 points in 405 games. Labanc has struggled throughout his career especially last year with only six points in 21 games. However, when he is thriving, Labanc can be a good two-way scoring winger which could intrigue the Flames.
According to CapFriendly.com, Kevin Labanc has a cap hit of $4.725 million for the remainder of this season and as well as next season. Due to MacKenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau‘s expensive extensions kicking in this offseason, the Flames would have to do some cap gymnastics to afford him next year.
Labanc by the numbers
Looking at these numbers alone, Kevin Labanc is having a tremendous year. He ranks high in all four statistics and appears to be a positive impact when on the ice. Enough chances are produced to outweigh the chances against when he is on the ice. Labanc’s PDO being 1.000 means he is neither lucky or unlucky, and is getting the results he should be expected to.
Moving over to Evolving-Hockey.com, we will be looking at their 2022–23 player cards. We can see that Labanc has a great results both offensively and defensively. His defence is assessed as near tops in the NHL with a 95 rating compared to a good but not elite offence rating of 76. Labanc is also far from a power play specialist as we can see from his negative results.
Finally, from HockeyViz.com, we’ll be taking a peek at the isolated impact chart. Labanc’s results differ from the Evolving-Hockey card. Labanc has average offensive results with a +0%. Most of the offence and shot attempts is generated from the left side of the net. He has strong defensive results posting a -8%. Labanc limits shots from being generated in front of the net, in the slot, and on the right side of the net. His finishing is just above average with +1%.
Stay on HockeyViz, looking at San Jose’s offence and defence with and without Labanc shows an intriguing storyy. With Labanc, San Jose’s offence flourishes. A +16% and lots of shot attempts and offence being generated around the net and around the slot which is the area the Flames need the most help.
Without Labanc, San Jose’s offence takes quite the hit, going from a +16% to a -2%. There’s still a good amount of shots attempts and offence being generated in front of the net, but every other area is negative. San Jose’s defence with Labanc is also great. A -13% and plenty of shot attempts and offence being limited in front of the net and in the slot. The middle of the zone could use some work, but pretty much every other area has limited offence.
Very similar to the offence, without Labanc, the defensive results take a hit going from -13% to +2%. The front of the net still has limited offence, but everywhere else has a positive amount of shot attempts and offence being generated.
Verdict on Kevin Labanc
Kevin Labanc has played a very strong game to the Sharks this season. He’s pacing himself to the 40–50 points from a few seasons ago as well as posting some strong analytical results. Labanc fits some wants for the Flames such as a winger who shoots right. His contract being two years is a problem as the Flames would have to clear cap to acquire him, whether that’s in the same trade on in a separate one.
I can see the argument against getting Labanc since he puts up similar results in similar ice time to Andrew Mangiapane so it would just be like getting a right handed version of him which wouldn’t particularly elevate the team. Labanc wouldn’t be my number one choice, but he’d likely be a cheaper option with some promise, so if the Flames can work the cap, I’d be all for it.
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