Acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer in exchange for a second-round draft pick, Tyler Kennedy has yet to find his role with the San Jose Sharks. He was given top-six ice time at the beginning of the season and failed to produce, eventually ending up skating on the club’s fourth line. Kennedy has been in and out of the lineup all year, and hasn’t meshed particularly well with any of his linemates.
The 27-year-old forward’s struggles are especially frustrating considering the fact that he used to be a solid scoring option. In 2008-09, Kennedy potted 15 goals and added 20 assists for a respectable 35 points in 67 games. Two years later, he netted a career-high 21 goals and had 24 helpers for a total of 45 points. Kennedy’s 2011-12 campaign was cut short due to injuries, but he still tallied 33 points in just 60 games, putting him at a scoring pace of over half a point per game.
Since then, the winger has been unable to rediscover his offensive game. Last season was by far the worst of his career, as he managed a frugal 11 points in 46 games. Kennedy’s debut campaign with the Sharks hasn’t been much better. In 53 appearances, he has four goals and 12 assists to go along with an unimpressive plus/minus rating of -4.
On top of not scoring, Kennedy has been a turnover machine this year. He makes at least a few ill-advised passes each game, and generally seems to feel rushed whenever he has the puck. Rather than skating the puck up ice himself, Kennedy has a tendency to either force a pass to a distant teammate or throw the puck down for icing. His decision-making has been poor all season, and his team has paid the price for it on a number of occasions.
It’s hard to give a player an “F,” but Kennedy hasn’t earned any better. The lack of offensive production is one thing, but when a veteran forward is brought in to solidify the bottom six and create scoring chances and fails to do any of that, it’s impossible to give him a positive review. The Sharks are having a terrific season, but Kennedy deserves very little (if any) of the credit for that.