SAN JOSE – Although it was reported weeks ago that Logan Couture had agreed to a five-year, $30 million contract extension with the Sharks, Doug Wilson said on Friday that the details were not finalized until recently.
Regardless, the general manager and the Sharks’ young star both finally publicly commented on the deal, which became official on the first day league rules permitted on Friday. The extension begins with the 2014-15 season, and will take the 24-year-old through 2018-19.
[REWIND: Sharks extend Logan Couture]
“I wanted to be with the Sharks for a long time, and a five-year extension was something that myself and the Sharks were both comfortable with,” Couture said, via conference call. “We went from there, and the deal really came together pretty quickly.”
“Obviously, it’s a very, very important extension for us,” Wilson said. “He gives us three years of his UFA [eligibility] years in the back end of the deal, which is a huge part of what we try to do around here.”
The deal includes a “very limited” no movement clause, according to Couture’s agent, John Thornton. That was important, Couture said.
“Yeah, we wanted that. Obviously, you never know what’s going to happen in the future. I wanted to give myself an option, if something happens, with a no-movement clause.”
Couture, an All-Star in 2011-12, played in all 48 games with the Sharks in 2013, finishing with a team-leading 21 goals and second in points (37). In the playoffs, he was second on the team with 11 points in 11 games, including five goals, tied for the team lead with Patrick Marleau.
“It was a weird year with the lockout, and for me personally, it was good to go over and play some hockey before the NHL season started,” Couture said. “I came in ready to play right from the start, felt good, and felt like my game improved throughout the year and then into the playoffs I felt that I played well. It’s been a good four years so far in San Jose.”
Along with his on-ice success, the 2007 first-round draft pick also took on more of a leadership role, which became evident in comments from head coach Todd McLellan and several players in the Sharks’ locker room throughout the season. It’s quite possible Couture will be the next captain at some point in the near future, depending on what happens with current captain Joe Thornton, who is entering the final year of his contract and is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
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Couture said he isn’t thinking about that right now, and credited Thornton for helping him become more of a locker room leader.
He added: “On our team, you don’t have to have a letter on your jersey to be a leader. … We’ll see what happens. I’ve learned a lot from the older guys that have been leaders on our team.”
Couture could have pushed for an eight-year contract -- the maximum allowed for a team to re-sign its own player -- but settled on a five-year deal after he completes a two-year, $5.75 million contract this coming season.
“I love playing out in San Jose, I love the organization and coaching staff, so that factored into my decision. I want to be a Shark for a long time, and for the next six years, I’m looking forward to it,” Couture said.
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As expected, the Sharks will keep Brent Burns as a forward this season after the 28-year-old had 20 points in 23 games after the mid-season move up front.
Wilson explained the decision.
“We feel very strong how our defense is constructed and how we expect them to continue to grow,” the general manager said. “How we want to play up front and go after people and make them defend, Burnzie just fits perfect. He still will be able to play the point on the power play and we can utilize his big shot, but we saw how good he can be and how he can impact games as a forward.
"I think it’s only going to get better if he trains specifically for that this summer, giving him that clarity and focus. I think he is a dominant power forward in this league.”
Wilson left open the possibility that Burns could return to the blue line at some point, as he’s signed through 2016-17. He was originally brought in as the long-term replacement for Dan Boyle, and the soon to be 37-year-old Boyle has one year remaining on his contract.