Marcus White

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.

How these Sharks prospects can help fill goal-scoring void this season


How these Sharks prospects can help fill goal-scoring void this season

Editor's note: The Sharks open training camp later this week, looking to replace nearly 60 regular-season goals from departed forwards Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist. Before camp officially begins, NBC Sports California is examining the players who will help San Jose fill that goal-scoring void. We continue with a group of forwards who can crack the roster. 

The Sharks' brass made it clear this offseason that there will be roster spots up for grabs when training camp begins Friday. 

San Jose, after all, lost three wingers who played in top-nine roles during the club's run to the Western Conference final. Experienced young players like Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc will be asked to play bigger roles, but another wave of forwards behind them will have to make the jump from the minors -- and, in some cases, juniors -- to full-time NHL roles.

Here are five Sharks prospects who, if they make the team, could go a long way towards offsetting the offensive production San Jose lost this summer. 

Joachim Blichfeld 

As an overage player in the WHL last season, Blichfeld tore it up with the Portland Winterhawks. He scored more goals (53), one fewer assist (61) and as many points (114) as he had in his first two seasons in Portland ... combined. 

Blichfeld, in all likelihood, will need some seasoning before he gets a crack at the NHL. The 6-foot-2 Danish winger only played in two playoff games with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda two seasons ago, and the jump from major junior star to AHL regular is big enough on its own. Still, the 21-year-old's shot should translate to the pros, and Blichfeld's combination of size and skill bodes well for his development down the line. If he quickly acclimates, it might be enough to earn an NHL role. 

Ivan Chekhovich

Chekhovich looks like a hockey player after taking a puck to the face in a rookie tournament game over the weekend, and he has the skill set to hang around. 

The 21-year-old impressed in back-to-back end-of-season stints with the Barracuda over the last two seasons, and Chekhovich appears ready for the jump to the professional ranks after scoring 105 points (43 goals, 62 assists) with the QMJHL's Baie-Comeau Drakkar last year. His size -- the Sharks listed Chekhovich as 5-foot-10, 180 lbs. in their May prospect report -- could cause some growing pains in adjusting from junior, but Chekhovich has dynamic offensive potential. 

Sasha Chmelevski

Could a roster spot vacated by a right-shooting American center who converted to a winger be filled by another one? That's not to say 20-year-old Sasha Chmelevski is the next Pavelski, but the Huntington Beach native is known for his hockey IQ and competitiveness. 

Chmelevski lined up on the wing in a recent Anaheim Ducks-hosted rookie tournament in Irvine, and positional versatility always helps when one tries to earn a spot in coach Peter DeBoer's lineup. So, too, will Chmelevski's ability to fire pucks on net -- he had just four games in the last two seasons without a shot on goal -- as well as the aforementioned intangibles. If that combination means he's NHL-ready, Chmelevski can help the Sharks bridge their goal-scoring gap from last year. 

Dylan Gambrell

Gambrell, much like Chmelevski, is intriguing because of his versatility. He has played on the wing and centered his own line in his brief NHL career, and the 23-year-old arguably was the Sharks' best player in an injury-necessitated appearance in Game 6 of the Western Conference final.

Now entering his third year as a professional, the Sharks need Gambrell to establish himself as an NHL regular this season. Whether that's as a center or winger, Gambrell's collegiate and minor league production are encouraging for his chances. Regularly using the strong shot he displayed on his Game 6 goal will help him stick around at either position. 

[RELATED: Sharks goalie Jones unveils cyborg-inspired mask for next season]

Antti Suomela

Suomela is something of a wild card. The center made the Sharks out of training camp last year, scoring eight points (three goals, five assists) in 27 NHL games. But the Finnish forward was sent down in December, and scored just 20 points in 47 AHL games.

With a full season on North American rinks under his belt, can Suomela's offensive game fully translate? He led Finland's top league in scoring two seasons ago, and flashed solid offensive instincts playing with Donskoi and Evander Kane early last season. It will be interesting to see if Suomela gets a look on the wing in training camp, but him winning the fourth-line center spot would give the Sharks another skilled pivot behind Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton.

Players who will help Sharks fill goal-scoring void in 2019-20

Timo Meier
Kevin Labanc

What PPR means in fantasy football, and three picks to target in draft

USATSI/NBC Sports Bay Area

What PPR means in fantasy football, and three picks to target in draft

If you’re a fantasy football newbie, the most intimidating acronym just might be PPR.

First, take a deep breath. This is fantasy football, not real football, so nobody’s going to yell at you for not knowing what it is. Well, I can’t speak for the people in your fantasy football league, but I certainly won’t yell at you.

Second, that’s where I come in! This handy guide will explain what the PPR format is, and which players you should target in your fantasy football draft.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is PPR?

PPR is an acronym that stands for “point per reception.” It is as simple as it sounds: For every catch a player on your fantasy team accrues, you earn a point.

Now, not all PPR leagues are created equal. Some leagues assign different point values per reception, ranging just about anywhere between zero and one. Make sure you check with your league manager to see how many points a reception is worth before you draft, as it will change your approach.

For the purposes of his guide, we’re going to assume one reception is worth one point.

I’m in a PPR league. What does that mean for my draft?

It means you’re going to need to look at players who catch a lot of passes and those who are targeted a lot. Let’s look at Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen as a case study.

In non-PPR leagues, Thielen’s most important numbers from last season were “1,373” and “nine.” The former represented his receiving yards, and the latter his touchdowns. Assuming receiving and rushing TDs are worth six points apiece and receiving and rushing yards are worth 0.1 points per yard, Thielen accumulated 182.3 points in 2018.

That was enough to make him one of the best wide receivers in standard fantasy leagues last year, but he was even more valuable in PPR leagues. He tied for fourth with 113 receptions last season, meaning he would have been worth an additional 113 points.

Most of the top receivers in standard leagues are going to get that kind of volume, but knowing who is targeted most often can make a big difference at some important positions.

Who should I target? 

All four of the players below are examples of skill-position players (one wide receiver, running back, and tight end) whose stock is boosted by their pass-catching ability. 

James White, Patriots RB
White rushed for a respectable 425 yards on 94 carries and added four touchdowns last season. His 751 receiving yards and seven receiving TDs made him a low-end RB1 or really strong RB2 in standard leagues, but his 87 receptions made him a borderline elite RB1 in PPR leagues. 

Sony Michel figures to get the bulk of the carries in New England, but Bill Belichick’s constant backfield tinkering and Brady’s clear chemistry with White still makes him a viable fantasy option. 

Jarvis Landry, Browns WR
Did you know that, through the first five years of their career, no wide receiver in NFL history has more catches than Jarvis Landry? Quit your yards-per-reception jokes, the guy has sure hands! 

Even with LSU teammate Odell Beckham, Jr. joining him in the Dawg Pound, Landry’s going to catch plenty of passes from Baker Mayfield this season. He won’t be your WR1, but he could be your WR2 or even your flex. 

Zach Ertz, Eagles TE
Travis Kelce was the king of the tight ends in 2018 and retains the crown headed into 2019. But Zach Ertz closes that gap in PPR formats. 

He is a favorite of now-healthy Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz, and Ertz caught a career-high 116 passes last season. That was enough to propel him over 49ers tight end George Kittle for second-best at the position in PPR formats, and is something to keep in mind if (read: when) you miss out on Kelce. 

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