Sharks name Logan Couture captain ahead of first day of training camp

Sharks name Logan Couture captain ahead of first day of training camp

Logan Couture will wear the "C" in San Jose this season. 

The Sharks have named the 30-year-old center their new captain, the team announced Thursday, one day before the beginning of training camp.

Couture succeeds Joe Pavelski, who captained the Sharks for four seasons before signing with the Dallas Stars in free agency this summer. 

"Since I arrived in San Jose four seasons ago, we have been blessed with a tremendous amount of leadership on our roster," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said in a statement released by the team. "Logan has grown up within that environment and evolved into someone who not only plays his best hockey when it matters the most, but who also leads by example off the ice. He knows what it takes to win, and his performance in our recent playoff runs reflects that.

"Most importantly, Logan has the respect of his teammates, and we're extremely proud to name him as the 10th captain of the San Jose Sharks."

Couture wore an "A" as one of the Sharks’ alternate captains for each of the last four seasons. He long has been one of the most vocal Sharks during his media appearances, and he has grown into a leadership role over 10 seasons in San Jose.

The Sharks traded up to pick Couture No. 9 overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, and he debuted during the 2009-10 season. Couture scored a career-high 70 points (27 goals, 43 assists) in 81 regular-season games last season, and he led all goal-scorers in the Stanley Cup playoffs -- even after the Sharks were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference final.

[RELATED: How these Sharks prospects can help fill goal-scoring void]

Couture’s first season as Sharks captain also will be his first under an eight-year contract extension he signed last summer, locking him up in teal through the end of 2026-27. 

Couture will be the 10th full-time captain -- and 13th overall -- in Sharks history. He last wore the "C" in 2008-09, captaining the OHL's Ottawa 67s in his final season in Canadian major junior.

Along with Couture being named captain, Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl were named alternate captains.

NHL trade deadline winners, losers: Best, worst moves around league

NHL trade deadline winners, losers: Best, worst moves around league

The NHL trade deadline came and went, with many names moving and plenty of others staying put. 

Pending unrestricted free agents like goaltender Robin Lehner (Vegas Golden Knights), winger Wayne Simmonds (Buffalo Sabres) and center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (New York Islanders) all have new homes. Veteran Sharks center Joe Thornton wasn't traded, Chris Kreider re-signed with the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau just had to pee. 

Some teams, executives and fan bases stood out for reasons good and bad because of the deals made before noon PT on Monday. Here are your winners and losers from this year's NHL trade deadline. 

Winner: Doug Wilson

The Sharks general manager hasn't needed to sell in a half-decade, but he made the most of San Jose's down year in the last week. Brenden Dillon fetching a second-round pick and a conditional third was a tad underwhelming, but acquiring a 2020 first-round pick for Barclay Goodrow and a third is an inspired bit of business. Getting anything for veteran forward Patrick Marleau -- who the Sharks signed after the start of the season and very well could re-sign this summer -- was strong work, too, let alone for a third-round pick in 2021. 

Wilson woke up last Tuesday with just one pick among the first 62 in June's draft at his disposal, and he ended the deadline with three. The Tampa Bay Lightning pick won't be too far in front of the Sharks' own second-round pick, considering their respective place in the NHL standings. Wilson now has significant ammunition to move up in the draft or package together in a trade to get the Sharks back into contention.

The GM said last week he thinks San Jose has the foundation in place to return to the playoffs in 2021, and he now has the pieces to supplement that core this summer. 

Loser: Julien BriseBois

Wilson has been in his Lightning counterpart's skates shoes suit before, overseeing a salary cap-strapped team and trying to supplement an ultra-talented -- and ultra-expensive -- core with cheap depth. The Sharks, after all, have traded first-round picks for rentals before. Goodrow is a solid depth forward, he's valuable to Tampa Bay on a $925,000 cap hit through 2021 and most teams would take a first-round pick in the 20-plus range becoming a capable contributor of any kind.

The Lightning paid a premium, though, even when you factor in that the Sharks sent back a third-round pick and that the organization firmly is in win-now mode. Tampa Bay has a stellar track record of developing mid-round talent, but trading two first-round picks -- including one in exchange for versatile forward Blake Coleman --  could really sting down the line as the Lightning's more expensive forwards age out of their primes.

The price will be worth it if they win the Stanley Cup in either of the next two years, but Wilson can speak to the difficult position BriseBois would be in if the Lightning doesn't.

Winner: Vegas Golden Knights

Peter DeBoer probably didn't expect he'd have similar goaltending headaches in Sin City as he did the last two seasons in San Jose, but the Golden Knights coach has a much better outlook in the crease after Vegas acquired goaltender Robin Lehner from Chicago. Lehner hasn't quite reached the heights he did in his Vezina-finalist and Masterton-winning season with the New York Islanders in 2019-20, but he has still been one of the NHL's better goalies this season. 

Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't been, with the Quebecois goaltender posting his worst save percentage (.906) this season since joining the Golden Knights. Lehner, at the very least, offers DeBoer a chance to platoon Fleury down the stretch and keep the veteran rested for another postseason run. The Swedish netminder should be Vegas' starter based on his performance this season, however, and this is a smart hedge against Fleury's decline.

A wise bet in Las Vegas? It probably helps the Golden Knights' practice facility is in Summerlin, Nev. rather than on the Vegas strip.

Loser: New York Islanders

The Islanders immediately signed Pageau to a six-year contract extension, reportedly worth $30 million. Pageau is a good player in the middle of a career year, but he also is playing a minute-and-a-half more and has scored on an extremely unsustainable 17.8 percent of his shots this season. A first- and second-round pick (plus a conditional third) already is a hefty enough price to pay aside from the extension. 

It was a questionable deadline for legendary Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, who paid a premium to acquire a player he drafted and developed with the New Jersey Devils (a 2021 second-round pick for 37-year-old defenseman Andy Greene) and reportedly almost took on more money and team to bring in another player he drafted and developed with the Devils in the rumored Zach Parise-Andrew Ladd swap.

Barry Trotz is a miracle-worker behind the Isles' bench, but the Metropolitan Division is a meat-grinder and Pageau and Greene alone aren't enough to get them out of it. The duo might not be enough to help the Islanders avoid playing the Lightning or Boston Bruins as the second wild-card, either. 

Winner: Sharks fans

Rooting for one of Dillon and Marleau in the inevitable Capitals-Penguins bloodbath will be a far easier dilemma than having to choose between Marleau and a traded Thornton. One 40-year-old stayed put in San Jose, taking that potential Sophie's Choice off the board. 

Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs fans

There must be a German word for the schadenfreude NHL fans felt seeing the Leafs lose to a Zamboni driver and the ensuing freak-out. Hockey types of all stripes have dunked on the Leafs for the last 48 hours, Toronto's tepid trade deadline didn't bring them any closer to bridging the gap with Boston and Tampa Bay.

At least denizens of the Six have the Raptors. 

[RELATED: What trade Sharks did, didn't make mean going forward]

Winner: Carolina Hurricanes

It just keeps getting better in Raleigh. The Hurricanes arguably made the biggest splashes of the NHL trade deadline, revamping their blue line and re-loading up front by acquiring defensemen Sami Vatanen and Brady Skjei plus center Vincent Trochek. The former two can eat up minutes and move the puck, and Trocheck gives Carolina the luxury of playing Jordan Staal on the third line. 

The 'Canes are an elite puck-possession team with legitimate questions in net, but Monday's deals give them the depth to make some real noise this spring. Don't count on them finishing among the wild-card teams, and don't be shocked if they make it to the Eastern Conference final, either. 

Doug Wilson happy with Sharks' trade deadline haul, though bittersweet

Doug Wilson happy with Sharks' trade deadline haul, though bittersweet

The Sharks were one of the more active teams at the NHL trade deadline, as San Jose was involved in four separate transactions, three of which carried the same general theme: Sacrificing the present for the good of the future.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon and forwards Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow were traded to the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, respectively, each in exchange for draft picks. Of those three players, only Goodrow was signed beyond the current season, meaning general manager Doug Wilson did well to turn multiple short-term assets into ones better suited for the long run. Still, it wasn't easy to see so much leadership head out the door.

"We made some tough decisions," Wilson said following Monday's deadline. "We made some decisions to add some pieces that we think can be some great assets for us to make some decisions going forward to be consistent with what I said, which is getting us back on track next September. Some tough decisions with some really quality people that have meant a lot to this organization."

Much like the Dillon trade, San Jose's decision to send Marleau to the Penguins in exchange for a conditional 2021 third-round draft pick didn't exactly come out of left field. As a quality veteran in search of the elusive Stanley Cup, he was always going to have a better chance of succeeding in that endeavor with another team, and the Sharks worked with Marleau to make that happen.

"You always treat, especially, iconic players with the tremendous class that they deserve," Wilson said of Marleau. "Patty was included in the process, and I left it up to him, what he wanted to do and what he wanted to explore. ... He made a decision that I fully supported and all I can say is, what he has brought to the organization over the years continues, and we wish him nothing but the best. He's a Shark. Always will be a Shark."

Joe Thornton was in a nearly identical situation as Marleau, a 40-year-old pending unrestricted free agent with a Stanley Cup-sized hole on his career résumé. However, unlike Marleau, San Jose wasn't presented with an offer from a team that could convince Thornton to waive his no-movement clause.

"I don't share the conversations that I have with other GMs, but Jumbo was very involved in the process and was willing to explore it," Wilson said of Thornton. "Ultimately, it didn't come to fruition, and we reap the benefits of him staying here, because the young players that are here get to be around him every day."

"I think he was open to exploring it," Wilson added, "but I'm not sure he necessarily wanted to go completely, either. That's how loyal he has been to this organization, and that's what makes him special, too. "

Goodrow had no such clause in his contract, and thus didn't have any say about the trade that sent him and the Philadelphia Flyers' 2020 third-round draft pick to the Lightning in exchange for Tampa Bay's 2020 first-round pick. That was a haul Wilson couldn't pass up, but also a bittersweet exchange.

"Obviously, we're pleased with the return," Wilson explained, "but we gave up a player that epitomizes our development system. [Goodrow] came here as an undrafted free agent, went up and down in the minors. We've got a bunch of guys now that we think will follow the same journey that Barclay made, but Barclay is a special guy. Nothing was given to him. ... A great example of fortitude and commitment and work, becoming so versatile that teams that are trying to win the Cup wanted him badly."

[RELATED: What trades Sharks did, didn't make mean going forward]

The Sharks had every reason to be sellers at the deadline, given that their season is not headed to the playoffs. Still, the trades have further depleted what was already a ravaged San Jose roster, and the Sharks didn't acquire any new players that one would automatically assume is going to be a part of the franchise's core moving forward. Wilson knows what has been a tough season thus far is only likely to get tougher, but he's optimistic about the possibilities.

"This is a year that our main focus is playing the right way," Wilson summarized. "We have a depleted lineup right now. We've got some guys that just went out, we've got some key players that are injured. You can't control those things, but with that comes the opportunity for younger guys to really step in and say, 'Hey, look what we can do,' and hopefully they can be ready come September also to take a full-time spot, just like Barclay Goodrow did.

"We feel very comfortable that we have some people in the system that can step into that, but it takes work, and we've got a lot of work ahead of us."