The 2013 season ended the way that pretty much all of the last several years have ended for the San Jose Sharks. It was a year that included some ups and downs in the regular season followed by another playoff disappointment. Sound familiar?
But while it was a year that ended with another failure to make a serious run at a potential Stanley Cup title, there was one gigantic positive that came out of the 2013 season. It was the emergence of young forward Logan Couture as the face of the franchise for the Sharks.
If the league had chosen to acknowledge the Western Conference when they named the Hart Trophy finalists, it would have been hard to keep Couture’s name out of the running. He was easily the best player for the Sharks this season. Even when their offense fizzled out in the middle of the season, he kept putting up points.
Couture finished the regular season with 37 points. That wasn’t among the league leaders, but it was second on the team, just three behind Joe Thornton. His 21 goals led the team and were four more than any other player had put up. Seven of those goals came on the man advantage, while five were of the game-winning variety.
During the postseason, we really began to see Couture shine. After they sputtered about halfway through the season, we were unsure how far these Sharks would go. But they went to seven games in the second round against the defending champs, after sweeping the no. 3 seed in the first round.
Couture was a tremendous part of that. He finished the postseason with 11 points, including five goals. Three of his five goals were game winners for the Sharks, including winners in both Games 3 & 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals. He wasn’t at center throughout the entire postseason, but won 60 percent of the draws that he did take, in addition to his offensive performance.
With several of the Sharks’ stars aging, there’s no secret who the face of this franchise has become. He’s an all around player and a joy to watch in the offensive end. A full season next year should see Logan Couture officially announce himself as the top dog on this club.