2008 Final Grade: Joe Sakic

2008 Final Grade: B+

2007 Grade: A

Links:

2007 Report

{{sakic}} (hockey-reference page)

2008 ITCS (aka highly unofficial) Sakic game log

Season Stats: 44gp 13g 27a 40pt -4

Minutes: 879.5 (9th), EV 14:15, PP 5:15, PK :29, ATOI 19:59

1st Half: 24gp 7g 15a 22pt -6

2nd Half: 20gp 6g 12a 18pt +2

Playoffs: 10gp 2g 8a 10pt -7

Best Month: October (11gp 5g 8a 13pt +1)

Positions: C (44)

Lines: 1st (32), 2nd (11), 3rd (1)

Linemates: Sakic season log

LW: Wolski (18), Smyth (10), Brunette (7), Forsberg (4), Richardson (3), Hlinka (2)

RW: Brunette (24), Jones (9), Svatos (6), Hejduk (5)

Season: Thanks in large part to hernia surgery, Sakic set career lows in games played, goals, assists and points. Sakic's .91 pts/game was his lowest since his rookie season (.89).

Report: It's clear that Super Joe's game declined this year. He seemed to have lost a great deal of his speed and his shot seemed less zippy and less accurate (his shooting percentage of 10.5 is 3 points lower than his career average of 13.6). The question is: is the decline a result of age or the hernia surgery that knocked him out for 38 games. Personally, I think age was a factor (I had noticed a loss in speed at the start of the season, presumably before the injury). However, I think the injury may have been the larger factor. Sakic came back slowly from the injury, scoring just 3 points in his first 8 games. But, he did regain his legs by the end of the season, scoring 15 points in his final 12 games before leading the team in scoring in the playoffs. That tells me that, when healthy, Sakic is still capable of being a top player in the league. Of course, Super Joe could move to the 4th line and be incredibly valuable to his team, much like Steve Yzerman did at the end of his career, but I don't get the sense that Sakic wants to do that. He wants to play at a high level and I do believe - and it's not just my heart saying this - he still can. I don't need to waste anyone's time talking about the faceoffs (50.5%), his leadership or his defensive ability. I do think it was a mistake using him on the point on powerplays and not just because his decline in speed made him a liability on turnovers at the blueline.

Fast Fact: The Avs were 26-16-2 with Sakic in the lineup and 18-15-5 without.

2007-2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $6,750,000 ($6,750,000)

2008-2009 Status: UFA

Outlook: A year ago, following his 100-point outing, Sakic re-signed within days of the end of the season. At that point, talk was that Super Joe might even stick around until 2010 in order to play in the Olympics in his native British Columbia. This year, the captain is taking some time to make his decision. Reportedly, we may have that decision this week. Again, I believe that Sakic can still play at a high level for another year (and perhaps a couple of years). Unfortunately, he's not basing his decision on what I think, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed all week. I'm just not ready to my favorite player ride off into the sunset.

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