It was only a few days ago that whispers started emerging about Logan Couture talking to the Sharks about extending his stay in San Jose. Now it’s official: Couture has agreed to a contract extension, although no details will be made public until July 5th.
The Sharks’ star forward told David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News he “can’t say details” when Pollak texted him looking numbers. This is because no extensions can be approved by the league until the final year of their current contract, which for Couture is next month.
***Update: According to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, the deal is expected to be five years on top of the one year of his remaining contract, keeping him a Shark through the 2018-19 season.***
Now in his fifth season with the team, Couture had to be one of Doug Wilson’s biggest offseason priorities. He led all skaters with 21 goals in 2012-13, and it became clear midway through the season the team was becoming his.
He’s the type of player that rises to the pressure and craves respect. In three games against the Oilers — a team stacked with young talent, including the last three number one overall picks — Couture notched five goals and one assist. His most impressive performance came in a 4-3 win in Alberta: Couture scored two goals in regulation and another in the shootout. While all the focus was on Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it was Couture who stole the spotlight and made a case for himself as an up-and-coming superstar.
Couture continued to impress during the playoffs, collecting 11 points in as many postseason games. He left with what looked to be a serious injury midway through Game 3 of the Sharks’ Semifinals series against the Kings, only to return in the third period and score the game-winning goal in overtime.
After the game, Brad Stuart proclaimed Couture “the leader of this team.”
He’s right, and it’s an timely shift in leadership. Joe Thornton wore the “C” on his chest this season, but it might be Couture’s in 2014. Both Thornton and Patrick Marleau’s contracts expire at the end of next year, and with the general consensus being both will depart, the onus will end up on Couture to lead this team.