27-Year-Old Center – San Jose Sharks
Logan Couture Contract Information:
Agreed to a contract extension with the Sharks in June of 2013.
Couture (upper body) will draw into Sunday's lineup against the Devils, Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
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Logan Couture: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Couture set a new career mark in points with 67 while playing the full 82 for the first time last year, and with continued good health, there's no reason to think he can't be around that level again this year. If anything, Couture's role will probably grow incrementally as the aging Joe Thornton's shrinks, but that's been a very gradual process. Just 26 years old, Couture is as good a "second-line" center as you'll find in the entire NHL, and he's just hitting his prime years. The plus/minus should bounce back, too, after he posted his first-ever negative mark last season. Couture's too sportsmanlike to help you out in PIM, but he's definitely more than happy to take advantage of the other teams' penalties. Draft with confidence. Glee, even.
Couture's hand remains a bit of a concern, but his recovery from offseason surgery has apparently gone well. The center's 2013-14 numbers were depressed due in large part to an 11-game goal drought at one point in the season, marking the longest scoring slump of his career. Nonetheless, he still managed to match his best points-per-game production, despite the missed time. An elite talent who brings an all-around game to the ice every night, Couture could be in line for career numbers this season, while he also assumes a larger leadership role. If there's room for improvement in his game, it's on the power play. Just four of his goals came there last season, but we expect that to change, and fast. The Sharks will be running this year's man-advantage through him, not around him. And that means an increase in production. Can you say superstar? We sure can.
Couture has been a growing threat for the Sharks since his debut in 2009-10. He's a natural scorer and has the ability to get the kind of separation that produces points solely through speed. Last season, Couture blossomed into the leader the Sharks have been expecting, tallying 37 points in 48 games and then playing through injury in the playoffs to net 11 points, including three game-winning goals, in 11 games. The Sharks made no mistake about tying their future to the young star by offering up a lucrative contract extension in the offseason. There's little doubt that Couture should be a top selection in most fantasy drafts. He already has two 30-goal seasons behind him and another 21 goals in last years' truncated campaign. This could be a breakout year (40 goals -- anyone? anyone?) for the 24-year-old All Star.
Couture is a product of the Lucan Minor Hockey system. Why does that matter? It's because he has the luck of the Irish -- the Lucan Irish, that is -- behind him. And it's a perfect example of a small town kid who started out, not playing Triple-A hockey, but Double-D instead can make it big in the NHL because of pure athleticism and drive. His talents don't stop there -- at 23, he has x-ray vision and a sharp shot, and he separates himself from the pack with his ability to execute it all at top speed. He's the purest offensive force on the Sharks -- they're his team now, not Jumbo Joe's, at least when it comes to things like sniping that everyone loves in fantasy. We don't expect a huge increase in output over last year's 31 goals and 65 points. but we do think he'll deliver a 30-70 season this year and the next. And the next. And the ... oh, you get it. Now go get him.
Couture had the breakout year that many fantasy hockey pundits expected he would, notching 32 goals and 24 assists in his first full season of NHL action. The 22-year-old was an impact player on the man advantage, as he added 10 power-play scores to help the Sharks finish second in power-play percentage (23.5%). Of course, this brilliant campaign by Couture put him on the map as a finalist for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the league's top rookie, though he was narrowly edged by Carolina's Jeff Skinner in the voting. A natural talent, Couture projects to be an elite forward in the coming years. Unfortunately, you will likely have to pay a high premium to snag one of the league's top youngsters, as his outstanding rookie campaign has given him name recognition spanning far beyond the Bay Area.
Has Couture finally arrived? That is the million dollar question. He did get a sample of the NHL last season, scoring five goals and dishing out four helpers in 25 contests. However, it's a bit crowded up front in San Jose, so don't expect Couture to work miracles anytime soon. Instead, he could be eased into the system to ultimately become one of the Sharks' future stars. There's definite growth potential here, but he's a better target in keeper leagues than in one-year formats.
Couture has yet to reach the NHL in large part because concussions have slowed his development. However, his four-season tenure with the Ottawa 67's was by several accounts, a rousing success. With the 67's, he made adversaries look silly by posting 287 points in 232 games. He's probably only a small step away from the NHL.
Couture is the Sharks' top prospect. A natural talent, he employs a patient and controlled in-game demeanor. In three seasons in the OHL, Couture racked up 200 points (72G, 128A) for his junior team the 67's. Keep close tabs on him if injuries befall the Sharks at the center position - Couture is ready to compete in the NHL and could make a positive impact right away. He has the potential to be a fantasy hockey star.
Couture was drafted by ninth overall by the Sharks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Once regarded as a potential number one overall draft pick because of his two-way game that scouts have compared to Steve Yzerman. Playing for the Ottawa 67's of the OHL, he registered 78 points (26 goals and 52 assists) in 54 games played. Don't expect to see him suit up in teal for the 2007-08 season, however he could be in the starting lineup in the 2008-09 season. This year there is maybe only one roster spot up for grabs. Next year there will be a handful, as the Sharks have seven restricted free agents upon the conclusion of this season, and only 11 million in cap room.
Couture didn't do himself any favors when he pulled a pout in his junior draft year -- yes, he's the kid ranked number one but that was before the John Tavares exceptional player ruling. Couture had a tough year with injuries in 2006-2007 but still managed a 76-point effort in 54 games. Scouts are absolutely split on this guy -- he's either going to be a brilliant playmaker with x-ray vision OR he's way overrated with questionable skating to boot. It could be a wait-and-see game with this young man; fantasy owners should take care.