Couture growing into leadership role on the Sharks
Given how Logan Couture has risen to prominence in the National Hockey League, it’s worth a look back at how San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson was able to wheel and deal just to get the growing star.
That was back at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Before selecting Couture, Wilson and the Sharks acquired Toronto’s first and second-round selections in a trade involving goalie Vesa Toskala, before using those picks to trade up with the St. Louis Blues.
The end result, with that ninth overall pick, was Couture. Keep in mind that, with the eight overall selection, the Boston Bruins selected Zach Hamill, who has 20 games in the NHL since then, and just four points.
Couture, on the other hand, has now become, at the age of 24, the new face of the Sharks’ franchise as players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau transition into the twilight of their respective careers.
“In my opinion, he’s probably the leader of this team,” Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN back in May.
“Throughout the season, he’s kind of taken that role, I think, especially on the ice. So to have him come back was huge. It’s just a boost to the guys mentally, if nothing else.”
This past spring, Couture had 11 points in 11 playoff games, as the Sharks first swept the Vancouver Canucks before losing out to the L.A. Kings in a hard-fought seven-game Western Conference semifinal series.
Eight of those points came as the Sharks made quick work of the Canucks, dispatching the 2011 Stanley Cup finalists in four games.
His point production slowed against the Kings, however he was still relied on heavily, averaging more than 20 minutes per game in the final three games of that series.
And he also played hurt throughout the post-season.
His progressions through the years - back-to-back 30-goal seasons prior to the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign - have him on the brink of joining the highest echelon of National Hockey League players.
It was without surprise, then, that the Sharks inked Couture to a five-year contract extension worth a reported $30 million.
“He’s obviously a huge part of what we try to do around here,” Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News.