Considered by many to be the future captain of the San Jose Sharks, Logan Couture is far and away the team’s best young player. The 24-year-old pivot was drafted ninth overall in the 2007 Entry Draft and broke into the NHL during the 2009-10 season. His first full season in the league was the following year, when he registered 56 points in 79 games.
Since then, Couture has been an integral part of San Jose’s top six and one of the club’s top two-way forwards. He already has two 30-goal campaigns on his resume and managed to pot 21 goals in just 48 games last season.
Couture hasn’t slowed down this year. In 45 contests, he has 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points. Those numbers would be even higher if he hadn’t missed an entire month of play due to injury. Couture was on a five-game scoring streak when an injury sustained against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 5 forced him out of the lineup.
The Ontario native has achieved tremendous success offensively while maintaining the strong two-way play that has been a staple in his game throughout his young career. Couture is a skilled penalty-killer, a tenacious back-checker and a strong face-off man. He routinely wins upwards of 60 percent of his draws and logs heavy minutes on the penalty kill. The Sharks’ eighth-ranked penalty-killing unit is full of two-way talent, but Couture might be the best of the bunch.
If his regular season stats and all-around game don’t impress you, perhaps his postseason numbers will. Couture has a knack for stepping up his play when the stakes are high, which is how he managed to put up 11 points in 11 playoff matches last year. That point total includes five goals, three of which were game-winners. He’s a go-to player for the Sharks in big games, and he has delivered this season.
With the Olympic break is coming to an end, Couture has been practicing with the team and is ready to return to the lineup. Expect San Jose’s offense, which has been cold lately, to receive a much-needed boost with Couture back on the ice. His play in all three zones this season has earned him an “A” on his report card.